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Us 61, America 30, New York 18, United States 14, Mr. Garamendi 12, Fema 12, Washington 11, U.s. 11, California 11, Mr. Scott 10, North Carolina 10, Mr. Coble 9, Maine 9, Virginia 9, Mcconnell 8, Ms. Velazquez 7, Syria 7, Sacramento 6, Reid 5, Texas 5,
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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    November 14, 2012
    1:00 - 4:59pm EST  

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-- 180 published opinions since 2007. other noteworthy accomplishments includes forms in the admissions to the virgin islands bar, discipline procedures, and mandating new requirements for continuing legal education courses for all active members of the virgin islands' bar association. i had the pleasure of joining the chief justice and associate justices at their official swearing-in ceremony in 2006. at that time i focused moy remarks on the historic nature of the occasion as well as the personal relationships i share with each of the individual justices. with all that they have accomplished over the short time that this court has been in existence, all virgin islanders will look back on this time with great pride and gratitude for the way in which they laid the foundation for appellate juries prudence in a territory that is a second to none. while it took more than 20 years after the authorizing to establish a local appellate court, and while we are the last
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u.s. territory to do so, it is more than fitting that we are on the verge of accomplishing the final goal of making the u.s. virgin islands supreme court just like all other state supreme courts, an i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of h.r. 6116. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. scott: i yield to the gentleman from american samoa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to extend and revise and extend my remarks. i thank the gentleman from virginia and especially my dear friend and colleague, the gentleman from north carolina, as managers of this important legislation. mr. speaker, i rise today in strong support of h.r. 6116, a bill to provide for appeals from the virgin islands supreme court to go to the u.s. supreme court instead of the third circuit court of appeals. h.r. 6116 sponsored by my good
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friend and gentlelady from the virgin islands simply puts into legislation a decision vetted by the judicial council of the third circuit, established through a process which has already been authorized by congress. mr. speaker, in 1984 congress provided guam and the virgin islands with the authority to establish local supreme courts and the law provided for appeals in these courts to go to their respective circuit courts of appeals for the first 15 years unless after five years the respective court of appeals found the local supreme court was ready for appeals to go directly to the u.s. supreme court. on april 18 of this year, the council published a 23-page report on the virgin islands supreme court that was submitted to the senate committee on energy and natural resources and also to the house committee on natural resources. in its review the council concluded that the virgin islands supreme court has developed sufficient
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institutional traditions to justify direct review by the supreme court of the united states of all final decisions. the council affirmed that the virgin islands supreme court's quality of case law was commence rat with that of the supreme court's of several states and among other remarkable reviews, stating further that the third circuit court has yet to reverse a decision of the virgin islands supreme court. i congratulate the virgin islands supreme court chief justice anlt associate justices for this extraordinary feat and i commend again the gentlelady from the virgin islands for introducing this timely legislation and i urge my colleagues to support this bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scott: just to thank the gentlelady from the virgin islands and the gentleman from texas, mr. smith, and the gentleman from michigan, the
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ranking member, mr. conyers, for bringing this bill to the floor and with that, mr. chairman, i just -- mr. speaker, i ask members to support the bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i too want to express my thanks to dr. christensen and my friend from american so mowa and mr. scott as well. i have no additional speakers and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina yields back. all time having expired, the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 6116 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina seek recognition? mr. coble: meeks, i move that the house suspend the -- mr. speaker, i move that the house
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suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5934, the stop tobacco smuggling in the territories act of 2012. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5934, a bill to amend title 18, united states code, to include certain territories and possessions of the united states in the definition of state for the purposes of chapter 114 relating to trafficking in contraband cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from north carolina, mr. coble, and the gentleman from virginia, mr. scott, each will control 20 minutes. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina. mr. coble: i thank the speaker. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on h.r. 5934, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. coble: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. coble: hrment r. -- h.r.
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5924 -- 5934 was introduced by mr. faleomavaega, my good friend from american so me a o', a understand i apologizify did damage to that. i thank him for his work on this issue. cigarette traffic is one of the most lucrative smuggling operations in the united states and around the world. it is estimated that elicit cigarettes account for over 10% of the more than 5.7 trillion cigarettes sold globally each year. here in the united states, approximately four billion cigarettes sold each year are elicit. cigarette smuggling is typically carried out by sophisticated large scale criminal organizations that take advantage of the significant disparity between the taxes levied on cigarettes across the states. for example, mr. speaker, a pack of cigarettes that cost $13 in a high-tax state like
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new york will cost only about $5 in a low-tax state such as virginia. these differences create a highly lucrative market for individuals to evade the local sales tax and purchase cigarettes in one locality and transport them to another for resale below the market value. criminal organizations are able to make a profit of as much as $1 million on just a single truckload of illicit cigarettes. state significant tax notice united states have been on the rise since 1992 and vin creased more than 65% over this period. however, the states' gross tax revenues have increased by only 35%, due in significant part to the illicit tobacco trade. exporting the price disparity for a single pack of cigarette tweens individual states has provided profitable -- has proved profitable for criminal
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networks. according to the justice department, this illicit activity cost the states and the federal government approximately $5 million each year. this is money that could and should be put to better use. congress took steps to curb the sale of contraband cigarettes with the prevent all cigarette packing active 2009. the pac act prohibits the sale of cigarettes and tobaccoless products over the internet. h.r. 5934, mr. speaker, provides a technical correction to ensure that the criminal prohibitions against cigarette smuggling apply to the u.s. territories of american samoa, guam and the northern mariana islands in the same way that they do for the rest of the country. this is a modest but important change that will help to
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promote safety and tax revenue in these territories. i again thank my friend from american so me a o'-- samoa for his work on this issue and urge my colleagues to join me and mr. scott in support of this bill. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from north carolina reserves -- the gentleman from north carolina reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. scott: i yield myself as much time as i may consume. mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 5934, the stop tobacco smuggling act of 2012. when enacted, h.r. 5934 will amend the contraband cigarette trafficking act by including the american samoa, the commonwealth of northern mariana islands, and guam in existing legislation which makes it illegal to knowingly ship, transport, receive, possess, sell, distribute or purchase 10,000 or more contraband cigarettes that do not have a state oratorer toial stamp. under the contraband cigarette trafficking act, violators face
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requirements to face criminal penalties and fines. currently there are no such sanctions in effect for violations that occur in the territories. thus prohibiting the bureau of alcohol and tobacco, firearms and explosives from investigating cigarette smuggling and traffic act violationless. h.r. 5934 will fix this. mr. speaker, each year hundreds of millions of cigarettes are diverted from legal trade channels into the underworld. cigarette trading is growing steadily. cigarettes are believed to be the most illegally trafficked product in the world. cigarette smuggling results in significant economic impact in terms of depriving governments from excise tax revenue and depriving legitimate businesses from income due to unfair competition. smuggling of genuine cigarettes steals as much as an estimated $40 billion to $50 billion a year from governments in tax revenue. the trafficking in counterfeit cigarettes stealing even
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billions more. in may, 2011, a report from the territorial audit office on collection of cigarette tax by the american so mowa government found that -- samoa government found that cigarettes are likely being smuggled into american is a mow and as a result their government is losing a significant amount of cigarette excise tax revenue. each subsequent study estimated that as many as close to six million cigarettes had been smuggled into the territory in 2010, resulted in an estimated loss of revenue to the government, to the american samoan government of over $ 700,000. in addition to the economic impact that our public health and public safety concerns, smuggling delivers cigarettes that are cheaper to buy because cheaper cigarettes lure youth and other new customers, making it harder for smokers to quit. it's also been reported that some import imitation
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cigarettes have been found to contain toxins. as a result illegal trade has worker productivity losses and the growing death toll from tobacco use is already almost over five million lives per year, projected to rise to eight million by 2030. from a public health standpoint it is well documented that, as with other contraband, proceeds from cigarette traffic and support organized crime and even terrorist networks. these reasons i support the bill and encourage mying colleagues to support the bill as well. if the gentleman has no other speakers, i'd like to yield to the gentleman from the american samoa, mr. faleomavaega, for such time as he may consume. mr. coble: i have no additional speakers. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from american samoa is recognized. mr. faleomavaega: meeks, again i ask unanimous con -- mr. speaker, again i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks and again i cannot express enough of my deepest appreciation to the gentleman from virginia, mr. scott, and
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my good friend, the gentleman from north carolina, mr. coble, for their management of this bill. mr. speaker, i rise today in strong support of h.r. 5934, a bill that i authored to stop tobacco smuggling in the territories. first i want to thank chairman of the house judiciary committee, mr. smith, and my dear friend and ranking member, mr. conyers, and all the members of the committee for their strong support of this legislation. i also want to acknowledge speaker john boehner and house majority leader cantor and our democratic leader nancy pelosi for their support of this bill. i thank my colleagues, the gentlelady from guam, and also from the northern mariana islands, ms. bordallo, and mr. sablan, for their co-sponsorship of this bill. mr. speaker, today american samoa faces a serious problem of tobacco smuggling, as i'm sure it's the same with the other territories. according to a recent study two years ago, as many as five
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million, five million d 5,792,924 cigarettes were smuggled into the territory. the study found that tobacco smuggling resulted in the loss of about $724,,116 in revenues to the american samoa government. if continued undeterred, tobacco smuggling in the territories will include to heavier losses in local tax revenues, especially if cigarettes' excise tax rates were to be increased. mr. speaker, in this age of government fiscal responsibility, securing and sustaining stable resources of local revenue streaming is essential and must be encouraged for the territories. it was for this reason why i began to look into this important issue and i was disappointed however to find that under current law, prohibiting cigarette smuggling, not all the territories were included. under the contraband cigarette trafficking act that congress pacted -- passed in 1978, it is
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illegal to ship, sell, transport or possess more than 10,000 cigarettes or 500 packs per month, not bearing the tax stamp of the jurisdiction in which they are found. violation is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and seizure of the contraband cigarettes. the contraband cigarette trafficking act currently, however, does not apply to american samoa, guam and northern mariana islands. historically when congress considered the bill in 1978, the senate version defined state to include the 50 states, the district of columbia, puerto rico or a territory other a -- or a position of the united states while the house provision excluded a smaller territories. for some reason unbeknown to me, the conference substitute adopted a house provision and according to the conference report, the house provision is described as more accurately delineating the scope of the
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legislation. mr. speaker, the bill before us today will correct this oversight in the law. this important piece of legislation will amend the contraband cigarette trafficking act to include the territories of american samoa, guam anlt northern mariana islands. it will amend the definition of the state for the purpose of this act and to include all u.s. territories and again i commend my good friend, the gentleman from north carolina, as well as my friend from virginia, for their extensive understanding and knowledge of this issue in the matter now before us. i urge my colleagues to support this bill and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. scott: i thank the gentleman from american samoa, my friend from north carolina, mr. coble, for bringing this measure to the floor. i urge my colleagues to support the bill and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. coble: in closing i want to thank mr. scott as well and my
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good friend from american samoa. eni, i apologize for having fractured insure name earlier. folks, this is a good bill that addresses a threat. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the bill and support it and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 5934. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause twafe of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on november 14, 2012, at
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10:9 a.m., that the senate agrees to the house -- house of representatives amendment to the bill, senate 743. with best wishes i am, signed sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leaves of absence for mr. rush of illinois for today and the balance of the week. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the request is granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. garamendi: i thank you, mr. speaker. we're back and america expects
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that we ought to be going back to work and we have a heavy load ahead of us. we want to make sure that every american has the opportunity to climb that economic and social ladder as high as they want you can go so we have to make sure those ladders of opportunity are in place. we also have to make sure that we are a compassionate nation, that we're willing to reach out to those in our country who have been harmed by devastating natural disasters. we certainly saw this on the east coast and i'd like to spend a good portion of this hour talking about how we as a nation can respond to superstorm sandy and the lessons that we should learn from had disaster. it's not the first that has occurred in america, and it's
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certainly not going to be the last. in the previous disasters we learned a few lessons but it seems as though we have achieved the necessary wisdom from those occurrences to really put in place the policies that can protect americans. first, our sense of compassion drives americans to reach out in many different ways to assist those on the east coast that were so severely harmed by this storm. our condolences go out to the families of those who were killed in the storm. our wall etc. opened to the american red cross and -- our wallets opened to the american red cross and others providing assistance. we should do that and we should do more than that. but as a congress there are things we must also do. propose alcs have been made on this -- proposals have been made on this floor to reduce the effectiveness and the
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support for the federal emergency management agency, not a good idea. it's very clear from the disaster on the east coast that a single city or state or even a region is unable to adequately address in the leadup to a disaster where there is warning or in the immediate aftermath of that, the necessary resources to assist and to recover, and so as a nation we need some mechanism to gather together all of the strength of this incredible country we call america and apply that strength to those that have been so severely harmed by that disaster. and that's occurring. fema has clearly been significantly improved in the last four years and certainly
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since the tragedies of new orleans, but there's much more that needs to be done, and as a country, as representatives of the american people, people who may be in any part of this country and at any moment could be affected by a disaster, we need to make sure that there is a national response capability in place ready to act with the sufficient resources. that's not just organizational, administrative issue. that's also the necessary funds available. shortchanging that money that we set aside for those disasters can lead to a period of time in which inaction is inevitable, and so as we go about our budgeting, as we go about our appropriations process, we must make sure that we do not shortchange and that we provide enough money, set it aside, have it there available for immediate response. and it's not just the federal
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response. it's those private companies and others that will be hired by the federal government or the state and cities to provide the necessary services. there are many other lessons to be learned from superstorm sandy and from its previous disasters. early warning systems are essential. yet, we have seen proposals here before the congress and the budgets and appropriations before the congress to diminish the ability of america to see ahead, to be able to predict storms or earthquakes or fires by diminishing the money available for nasa and their satellite technology and other research capabilities that are out there where we can learn well ahead of a disaster, that it's coming, that we can then warn the citizens, take
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whatever precautions are necessary and whatever defense systems may be required. and so it's not just the disaster. it's the preparation. the early warning. the ability to know what may be coming to harm the citizens of this nation. and so as a congress we should be cognizant of the role that we play in providing the resources, the direction and the authorization for those agencies that are able to have the technologies to perceive, to understand what may be coming to the citizens of this nation and those around the world. secondly, as individuals it seems to me we ought to be paying attention, and when the authorities say it's time to leave we really ought to do that. i was the insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor in california and often found myself in
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situations where i had responsibilities along these lines and all too often and all too tragically, the citizens that were warned early they should leave because of a fire danger did not and tragedy struck and they lost their lives. so we have individual responsibilities as well as community responsibilities. there's another set of lessons to learn from superstorm sandy and the drought in the midwest and other occurrences in the weather patterns of this nation and that is that climate change is real. it is real. it is actually happening as we speak. we know that the great ice caps around this world are diminishing. we know that the ocean levels are rising. we know that there is a warming
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across the entire planet, and we know this will have profound effects. it was predicted back in the early 1990's when i was working on this issue when i was at the department of interior's deputy secretary, we predicted there would be superstorms, that there would be droughts in new parts of this nation and that the ice caps would melt and that there would be significant changes in the agricultural patterns around the world and certainly there would be significant changes in the river and stream flows. in my own state of california, we anticipated then, some almost 20 years ago now, that we would see the snow pack in the sierras which is our single biggest reservoir, we would see that snow pack diminished and we would see there would be changes in the flows of the rivers and quite likely greater flooding. and that brings us to the
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necessity to recognize this as a nation and for this congress to work to address, not just the reasons for climate change, but just as importantly, to prepare for the inevidentibility of the effects of climate change. a small rise in the sea level certainly will change the impact of major storms on all of our coastlines. the storm surges will be higher. the destruction greater, and therefore the necessity -- two-fold necessity. one, to do everything we possibly can to diminish crimet change, and that brings us -- climate change, and that brings us to energy policy, which is not the subject of today's discussion, but rather to the issue of how we are going to affect and prepare for the inevitable changes.
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a little over a year ago the president proposed the american jobs act, and in that american jobs act there was a substantial -- in fact, a very significant increase in the amount of money that this nation would spend on infrastructure. in addition to what we would normally do, the president proposed an additional $50 billion of infrastructure investment in the near term over the next two to three years. unfortunately, that proposal was not even brought up in the current congress, but nonetheless, it's a proposal that we as members of this house should give considerable thought to. and i look now to the east coast and the west coast and in my own district in california which is the sacramento valley, and i'm looking at the
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president's proposal, some $50 billion, in saying what if. what if we would actually undertake a major practices action in the united states? what if we were to really prepare ourselves for the inevitable climate change? what would it mean to americans? well certainly right off it would mean jobs. it would mean we would be able to employ perhaps two million people immediately in plug that infrastructure. but it would also mean something beyond that. it could mean we would increase the deficit, or if we were wise, it could mean we would not increase the deficit at all. we would simply make some shifts in certain tax breaks that are now griffin to various parts of -- given to various
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parts of our economy, for example, the oil and gas industry, and shift those tax breaks around so we would fund infrastructure project. in fact, that's what the president proposed to do. before i go further into how we might use the effort to build infrastructure, i want to just say that that infrastructure program is going to be absolutely essential to rebuild an extraordinarily important part of this nation. that is the east coast. new jersey, new york, connecticut and some parts of pennsylvania were devastated. there is going to be a multi-billion dollar rebuilding program necessary just to go back to where those parts of this country were before the storm hit. much more will be needed to protect those parts of this country from future storms that
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are certain to occur. i'll let it go at that. sigh my colleague from new york -- i see my colleague from new york city has arrived here and i'd like her to pick this issue up and talk about the devastation that occurred in her communities and then we can come back to the infrastructure . thank you very much. it's a good -- thank you for joining us. ms. velazquez: i want to thank you for yielding. mr. speaker, if hurricane sandy taught us anything, it is the importance of infrastructure to new york city and our nation. right now new yorkers are struggling with day to day challenges. many of them without power. in certain parts of the metropolitan area, gasoline shortages continue presenting
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enormous difficulties. but even as new yorkers worked to rebuild and recover for the short-term, we cannot ignore long-term problems. in many ways the city of new york took a number of prudent steps that reduced damage and sped up recovery time. however, it's painfully clear that more must be done in the future to ensure our nation's infrastructure can withstand assault from mother nature. as governor cuomo said, we have a new reality in all infrastructures and all systems. we can start by protecting low-lying areas near the ocean, like brooklyn and manhattan in my district. we see walls and flood gates. in other areas, soft infrastructure investment such as sand dunes and embankments
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can minimize flooding. our electrical system need to be hardened and protected. other energy sources must also be safeguarded. ensuring refineries and petroleum supplies do not fall victims to floods can prevent future fuel shortages. just as ensuring automobiles have fuel after disasters. other vital transportation arteries must be protected. raising entryways to new york subways could minimize flood damage to our subway system, ensuring our city gets back on its feet faster after the next storm. constructing a storm surge barrier and implementing infrastructure changes like this, as you said, will not be cheap. it has been estimated costs can
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could run as high as $20 billion just for new york city. but let's remember, in this one storm alone, new york city suffered $26 billion in economic damage and losses. and lives that were lost. sadly, the question is not if there will be future storms but when. by investing in our infrastructure now, we can prevent future economic damage to say nothing of protecting our citizens from danger. not only will this investment protect our city from disaster down the road, but they can provide us a much-needed and informed boost. new yorkers are ready to go to work. not only strengthening our city for the long haul, making this investment now can create good-paying jobs in the short-term and reduce damage
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from future disasters over the long-term. so, in new york we are ready to go to work and not only for new york's infrastructure but also for our entire nation. mr. garamendi: thank you very much. maybe a little colloquy here, we can talk about this in a little more detail. the storm surge that came into new york was anticipated but the new york-emergency region were not prepared with the necessary infrastructure to protect the communities from that surge. and if i understood you correctly, you're suggesting that the cities or the region needs to put in place those infrastructures to protect it. the subways have to be secured from the in-flow of water.
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the sea walls, certain other things need to be put in place. and did you estimate a cost of some $20 billion? ms. velazquez: for new york city. mr. garamendi: not including new jersey. ms. velazquez: correct of the just for new york city. -- correct. just for new york city. mr. garamendi: i will share with you my experience in my part of california, which is the sacramento valley, the city of sacramento and the surrounding area. we have significant flood potential. in fact, the northern part of sacramento is considered to be the most flood-proned ordaining rouse city in america after new orleans -- or dangerous city in america after new orleans. we call them levees, not sea walls. but rather levees. they have to be improved. we anticipate the cost in part of sacramento to be well over $1.4 billion. another city i represent,
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marysville, some $20 million to protect that city and then uba city next to it. so the entire region that i represent has needs similar -- i wouldn't use the word stim, -- similar, because we're not on the ocean, but we have needs for flood protection just like new york city and new jersey. we can do this. we're a very strong, powerful nation and you couldn't be more correct by saying, if we do it, we protect ourselves we reduce the potential damage, and we also put people to work. ms. velazquez: that's correct. in the long haul, not only do we protect our citizens, but the economy will not suffer. look at new york. it came to a standstill. we didn't have transportation, infrastructure was totally paralyzed. transportation in terms of gas lean in new york, we couldn't
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do it. -- in terms of bringing gasoline into new york, we couldn't do it. so this is the right thing for us to do, for our nation to protect our citizens, but it could improve the economic conditions of our entire nation by creating so much high-paying jobs at this time when the economy continues to struggle. mr. garamendi: i know that you're deeply involved in the small business, you're the ranking member of the small business committee here in the house of representatives. and i would expect that there would be a significant opportunity for small businesses in this also. ms. velazquez: definitely. when it comes to transportation and infrastructure, a lot of the businesses are small businesses and they are the backbone of our economy. they will be the one creating the jobs that are so much needed in our local communities. mr. garamendi: i noticed that we've now been joined by another representative, an area that was significantly damaged, mr. pallone from new jersey. perhaps you'd like to share
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with us your thoughts, your experience. did i see you on cnn one night as you were working with your constituents, trying to meet the disaster in your area. mr. pallone: i want to thank my colleague from california for having this special order and talking about the hurricane damage and what needs to be done in the future. i have to say that the damage to my district was catastrophic . we had many towns where initially at least it looked like the majority of the homes and businesses were wiped out. now, when we go back and look again, some of them can be saved. but we're talking about thousands of people who lost their homes and many of others who lost their businesses. it really created a humanitarian crisis in that first week or so because we were trying to get fema in with the disaster recovery centers and with the red cross and the salvation army. and really over the first week the main concern was just
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humanitarian, trying to find shelter for people, trying to make sure they had food and water and clothes. but i have to say the response was overwhelming. so many of the towns in my district, basically it was a voluntary effort because in the first few days it was pretty much the people locally that were doing all those things. and towns had shelters set up, people were bringing in food, making hot meals. i never saw such an outpowering of, you know, -- outpouring of, you know, of support, if you will. it continues. this weekend -- by this weekend, this last weekend, there were disaster recovery centers set up by fema in many of the towns. particularly those that were hardest hit. and i have to say that locally fema did a very good job. the people that came out and set up the disaster recovery centers or helped with the humanitarian needs were just --
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they really were excellent. but i wanted to talk today a little bit, if i could, not that the humanitarian concerns have disappeared, because they haven't. i don't want to suggest that. but i wanted to talk a little more about long-term needs, if i could. just take a little bit of your time. we met with the fema director this morning and i talked essentially about four needs that we really need to address. one was what i call temporary housing. in other words, i want people to get out of the shelters and either be able to go back to their homes or some kind of temporary housing that would last them for, you know, a year or 18 monthless. and we -- i think it should open by this weekend at one of the military bases that was closed, but we've identified at least 600 units, i believe, now
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where we can put people temporarily who have lost their homes and can't go back to their home. but i talked to fema today, to the director today, about they're trying to get trailers in. and he said that that was going to happen but it hasn't happened yet. because many of the people right now are still living in a house that has no power and is not functional. but because it's not terribly cold or hasn't been, they're able to stay there. once it gets cold they won't be able to and they'll have to go back to a shelter and we want people to get out of these shelters. so i'm hoping that not only are we going to have some housing at the fort but we can also supplement that and get some trailers in from fema that can actually be put in place on people's own property. so they don't have to go to the fort or elsewhere over the next year or 18 months. this is sort of the second stage. out of the shelter, into some temporary housing for a year or
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18 months, and then of course back to your own house once it's repaired or rebuilt. and then the second thing is that we have a lot of -- i think you were getting at it before, we have a lot of the beach replenishment and the dunes and the sea walls that were being used as protection. many of my -- some of my towns are actually below sea level and if it isn't for the sea wall or the dunes or the beach replenishment, or the official beach replenishment, the storm would have been even worse. now those are gone. not completely but kind of like in new jersey, the dune is gone. and many of the towns along the atlantic coast, the slope of the beach has gone down six or seven feet so they don't have any protection anymore. sea walls have been broken up. so, i asked the corps and fema today, the fema director, to give the corps the go-ahead to do emergency work because right now in keensberg, for example, if you have another storm, not
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even a hurricane, since the dune's not there the watt already come right in and you have the same problem again. so we got a positive response on that. but we need to find out when this is going to happen. when this is going to begin. and then the third thim thing is the match. i have a lot of very small towns, some of my towns have 1,000 people, 2,000 people. and when you talk about long-term work on infrastructure, municipal or state infrastructure, there's a 25% match. so we're trying to get that either reduced or eliminated because the towns can't afford that. and the last thing is many people have asked, because as i'm sure we're going to have a debate, i have no doubt that this -- these more severe and frequent storms are a consequence of global climate change. i've been around 60 years and i've never seen a storm like this. nobody has. they say it's the 500-year storm. well, i'm afraid that the 500-year storm is now the 10-year storm. you know, and the nor'easter that we would get every 20 years is going to happen every
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year. i hope not but it certainly seems that way. and so, you know, we have to look at, in some cases, buyouts, in other words, people have said, look, we can't do this every two or three years and so can we have the government buy our homes? there's no home, but what's left of it, rather than rebuild. and many areas where if the homes could be lifted and put on a platform or piling, then maybe they could stay because the water would rush underneath. so these are -- this was also -- i also brought this up with the fema director and he said there are programs at the federal level that would accomplish that. so we're now looking, i'm not taking away from the humanitarian problem that still exists, it definitely does, but we have to look at some of these issues in terms of housing, rebuilding, and changes in the way we build
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over the long-term and i know that, you know, all of you and all of our colleagues hopefully on a bipartisan basis will be supportive of trying to get funding for all these things. the fema director said that for all emergency purposes there's adequate funding, at least until the spring. but when we talk about some of these long-term things, undoubtedly that will have to be some kind of appropriation that we're going to have to pass here and i hope and i pray that we're all going to work together to accomplish that. so thank you for the time. i appreciate that. mr. garamendi: thank you, mr. pallone. there is no part of the nation that's immune from a natural disaster. the disasters will be different . tornadoes, superstorms, hurricanes, droughts, floods, fires. west coast we talk earthquakes. you can talk earthquakes on the east coast and the new fault in the central and missouri area ought to keep everybody a little bit nervous. so whatever it is around this
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nation, the disasters could occur, and the response, which you described is critically important. it's the forewarning and then the response when the disaster actually hits, but the preparation to put in mace the infrastructure to -- place the infrastructure to best protect those critical parts of the communities -- ms. velazquez talked about the refineries which were badly damaged by the storm. there are things to protect them. in doing so you protect your power supplies, the grid systems, sea walls, the like, all of these things are critically important. i remember last year i was on this floor with my colleague from the new york area who was deeply concerned about another storm that came through. it was irene, i believe, had a
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came through the northeast and created significant damage. mr. paul tonko, you spoke with great skill and compassion about your citizens. lessons learned, things to share with us today, mr. tonko. mr. tonko: mr. fair mendy, thank you for -- mr. garamendi, thank you for leading in this important hour of discussion. when i hear of mr. pallone and the disaster in his district and into new york and long island, there was a shades of a not so distant past that came to mind. we're still doing the recovery were the storm of august, the flooding of eye rain and lee in august -- irene and lee in august of 2011 which impacted my district severely. you know, human lives that were lost, property that was damaged, homes that were swept away in the river. everything for which people had
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ever worked taken from them. drastic situations. so as we do our work here in washington, we need to make certain that on this house floor there is advocacy for the response to these given situations. you know, already the price tags coming forth from the leadership back home. governo cuomo, for instance, suggesting the price is now -- the impact is now steadily risen, and, you know, at first snapshot you can't begin to comprehend all the damage and all the aspects and dynamics of recovery that would be required. now we're looking at something $30 billion that impacts a state in a very severe way. disrupts service. electric power that's disrupted. commerce that's frozen in place. human misery that's incalculable. where lives have been impacted
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forever by the forces of sandy. you know, this is a revisitation, so to spook, as we're -- speak, as we're still recovering. there was a fight on this floor that disaster aid moneys were brought into place so that we could respond with compassion and with dignity and integrity to these given situations. so the lessons here are to go forth as we deal with this given fiscal issue at hand, to go forth with the priorities that rein the most urgent and important and meaningful in putting back the fabric of these communities. there is a need to work closely with -- an outlay of resources to fema, making certain disaster aid is at the level that will be required here. working with other agencies that are as significant in the equation. the department of transportation, the small business administration,
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working with h.u.d. making sure that all these various elements are addressed in our sense of advocacy here. the human misery again is impacting. it's a situation that now brings to mind the fact had a in upstate new york, and even in metro new york city, and the long island area and in new jersey, these are atypical situations for hurricanes to rise that far north, to travel that far north. that's something in upstate new york the sort of hurricane damage we witnessed last year is not typical. so the nomenclature of 100-year storms is just ludicrous. it doesn't speak to what's really happening. we've had several storms in a 20-year period that were dubbed 100-year storms. so right there, the logic of the, again, nomenclature is misrepresenting the facts at hand. we are getting more and more
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repeats here of situations from disasters driven by mother nature, and as representative pallone made mention, a 500-year storm is what they were dubbing the case to be in the 21th congressional district that i now represent in the state of new york. so there is a need here for us to be doing any stpwhrant of those responses -- cognizant of those responses to those disaster situations but also to look at the bigger public policy, that of the environment and that of climate change and global warming. we need to be cognizant of our stewardship over the -- our planet. we need to make certain that if these data that are compiled are telling us that there is increased prescription, for instance, over the catskills watershed, in my district,
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let's respond accordingly to sound public policy as it relates to our environment and our stewardship of the environment and let's be cognizant of the needs in response of this measure. you know, i'll just say this, and i know you want to add to this discussion here. i'll say this, in a time where government perhaps has been hit hard by critics out there suggesting there's no role for public sector here, we need to reduce government, i can tell you people addressing the war room, as they designated it, putting together all of the professionalism and academics and people who operate these programs and how well trained, watching that compilation, that collaborative effort of these profession alcs who are responding to public -- professionals who are responding to public sector employment is powerful and it speaks to what the public asks
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for and deserves. sound, effective government, but this option of no government, i know people are reaching out. they wanted that partnership because they were at a loss for how and where to move. so representative garamendi, thank you very much for bringing the focus to what should be our staunch advocacy for people in need. mr. garamendi: representative tonko, once again, it's good to be with you on the floor and sadly reliving what you and i discussed here almost a year ago in response to hurricane irene and the devastation that occurred in your community. it seems to me there are many, many lessons to be learned here, some of which i talked about before you came in. certainly the ability to know well ahead of time what is coming. we saw with hurricane sandy that the nasa and -- was able
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to anticipate -- the weather service was able to anticipate the storm and where it was going. that ability to understand what is happening and likely to happen really comes from the support of the federal government, appropriating money to those agencies and then directing those agencies to provide those services. this is something we need to keep in mind. as we go through the deficits reductions, we must prioritize those critical to the well-being and lives of americans. we also know that we're going to have to rebuild. ms. velazquez was suggesting that it was some $20 billion for new york city alone, and mr. pallone didn't give us a number but we can anticipate billions for the new jersey area and then the areas in
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upstate new york and pennsylvania with lesser numbers, fortunately, but nonetheless it begins to add up to a huge amount of money. and some of the damages are not well-known even today. i was talking with representatives of the international brotherhood of electrical workers, 500 of whom came from northern california to assist in new york and we were talking about what those men and women were doing. they said, in the subway systems that were flooded, they were flooded with sea water, and the effect of salt on the electrical systems is -- it's over. you got to replace the entire electrical system. but not just to replace it but then to anticipate that it could happen again. and so to upgrade the entire infrastructure, to provide the protection that should have happened, you won't lose the entire subway system as it did occur in new york city. so we need the infrastructure to be replaced, but then also
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significantly enhanced. this is a very, very exespnive proposition. it's also a way in which people could go back to work and we could enhance the employment. we can do this. in fact endeed we must do it. the american society of civil engineers has said that the entire infrastructure, not just new york and new jersey, but my own state of california, the flood control systems we have in my state is woefully inadequate. they address it as a d. not an a, b, c but a d. we know we have extraordinary needs here. the president proposed a $50 billion addition to what we normally do with our infrastructure, which is a lot,
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but an additional $50 billion to be spent in two to three years. that's a critical boost, and i know the cities i represent, the sacramento area and one of the most dangerous places in america for flooding, merriesville, the delta area where i live, all subject to flooding. we need to enhance our levees to protect ourselves not from a 100-year but 00-year storm which is more likely to occur. we can pay for these things. it doesn't have to add to the deficit. for every dollar we put into infrastructure, we get $2-plus back in economic growth. so it's actually an investment, short-term and long-term investment had a will last for years. there's another thing that we have, and we -- they are no longer authorized. part of the recovery act, the stimulus bill, was the creation
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of build america bonds. the president proposed that as part of his infrastructure program. the build america bonds, which are called babs -- took me a while to figure that out -- but babs, build america bonds, are partly funded by the federal government and partly funded by the local agencies but had an enormous effect on enhancing infrastructure, sanitation systems, water systems and communities. let's talk about these kinds of things, the effect they may have in your communities in new york, pennsylvania and others. mr. tonko: sure. absolutely some of these programs are welcomed news. i'd like to go back for a moment about the sense of community that's expressed, the times of these tragedies. it's an essential part and we want effective government. we also want the private sector
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response and volunteerism. the sense of american spirit comes right into the forefront of this exhe precious and you begin to understand the greatness of this nation through some of the darkness that we share, so that point has to be clear, but your point about infrastructure improvement, infrastructure bank bill, transportation bill that provides for adequate amounts of resources, putting together these bonds in a are unique in design so that we can have the resources to make it happen, i absolutely agree. i contend that as we get impacted by some of the storm and mother nature occurrences, we need to make certain we reach the facts and the data are telling us that you're going to have additional activity, two things need to happen. you need short-term and long-term response. you do not rebuild exactly as you had. you need to retrofit that to
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the projected impacts of now a newer, stronger force of mother nature. and secondly, we need that global policy. we need policy that speaks to the environmental outcomes. if we're ignoring that we're going to see a hasty buildup, i believe, of some of these situations. . it's time to be economicly wise and effective. that's what the voters asked for. that's what the electorate asked for. that's what the people of the country demand and deserve. a sound use of resources. to go forward and build it in a way that provides for an improved outcome. you look at some of this infrastructure and it reminds you when it's taken away how significant it is to our quality of life and our profitablity as a nation. a grid system that connects power to the source that is require it. communications network that
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allows us to dialogue and build high profitablity. the infrastructure that moves freight, or roads, bridges, highways, you talk about the damage done by salt infested waters. it's incomprehensible about what that score goes to in terms of impact when you think of a subway system, rail system. energy generators and all the power and supplies within the utility infrastructure and communications. it's just -- it's important for us to learn from these effects of the storms and if we can put together concepts like a infrastructure bank, if we can put together the bond activities that will respond more compassionately and more effectively and more urgently to a given situation, then let's prioritize where we need to prioritize so we can make things happen. the infrastructure needs we
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talked about them. outside the context of the raf ammings of mother nature. water and -- ravages of mother nature. water and sewer systems that need to be upgraded because the age anti-new technology that's been introduced where we can do it in energy efficient format. where you save operating costs for local government. now's the time when you have taken this blow perhaps we can retrofit, do state of the art that will mean less costly operating expenses for local entities. and nongovernment organizations that allows for everyone to win and the taxpayer dollar is stretched in a positive, favorable term to be a more effective outcome for everyone in the equation. mr. garamendi: you raised important points. these are not partisan issues. this is not democrat or republican. over the years both parties have been champions of infrastructure investment and both parties have
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been very clear about the need to respond to the disasters that have occurred. we need to be ahead of this and we need to work together. it's our responsibility, 435 of us here in the house of representatives, as we end this session we should be willing to step forward in the lame duck session, provide the resource that is are needed immediately, if -- resources that are needed immediately, if they are not now available. and then we should, although i don't know that this would happen, we should take that step forward to put in place those programs that will create a infrastructure that will protect americans from the occurrence that is we know have happened and will happen in the future. you have mentioned one that i think is very important. the infrastructure bank. together with the build america bonds, shifting unnecessary
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takes from one industry back -- tax breaks from one industry back into others so we can build. as we do this rebuilding, as we do these infrastructure, it comes to my mind something you and i have spent many days talking about here on the floor is that we make it in america. that we use american made equipment to build these projects. we use american made equipment in supplies in the cop strucks activities. in doing so, we not only put in place the infrastructure, which is an investment for the long term, but we also build and rebuild the american manufacturing sector so we can have a win and a win and another win. so we could have a triple win here. if we are wise in putting our policies together. i know that many on the -- of our colleagues on the republican side have taken up these issues. we have time, two months now in this session, to deal with this. obviously we have the big deficit issue, but we also know
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that in that deficit issue we cannot forget the immediate and the -- immediate needs of america and the long-term benefits that come from strategic ininvestigationments. and -- investments. i'll wrap this and if you care to call this a session. i was flipping through the channels trying to find the latest news on the current scandal in washington and i came across i think it must have been a pbs show on the brooklyn bridge. i think it was david mckohl law -- mccullough had writ yep a book on the brooklyn bridge. the 100 ith anniversary is this year or next, it's in this period of time. and a piece of infrastructure that has served new york city and in larger context the nation for 150 years. so what we can do now as we
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rebuild new york, new jersey, and the other areas and, please, california also as we protect ourselves from these natural disasters, we will put in place investments that will serve for multiple generations into the future. that's a capital investment with an enormous return as the brooklyn bridge was 150 years ago. so wreef these opportunities and -- we have these opportunities and we ought to take advantage of them not just for humanitarian reasons but also for immediate jobs and long-term investments. that's our task. that's what we ought to be about. not a democrat, not a republican idea, but a true american idea that goes way back to the very early ages of our country. mr. tonko, if you care to wrap we'll call this a day. mr. tonko: i think we have it within our intellect to create the outcomes that are strong,
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that will reinforce those that are in need and address the critical economic times. i can tell you because the memory's so fresh, people did not want to hear about offsets and tea party mentality when they were without last year. they lost everything for which they ever worked. they are addressing now a balanced approach. dealt with an ax, come up with sensitivity, with an effective response using academics, deal with policy strengths in the long-term picture outcome, and get us out of immediate assistance so we can rebuild and do it in cutting-edge fashion so we can learn from this experience and come out stronger. i think in general in a bigger picture framework, our best days lie ahead if we approach these issues with sound academics and with the skillfulness and compassion required. thank you so much for leading us. mr. garamendi: thank you very much, mr. speaker. we yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the
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gentleman from texas, mr. paul, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. paul: i thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. paul: mr. speaker, this may be the last time i speak on the house floor. at the end of the year i'll leave congress after 23 years in office over a 36-year period. my goals in 1976 were the same as they are today, promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty. it was my opinion that the course of the u.s. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security. to achieve these goals i thought the government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary
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system, and reject the unsustainable cost of policing the world and expanding the american empire. the problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my viewpoint, just following the constraints based on the federal government by the constitution would have been a good place to start. just how much did i accomplish? in more ways according to conventional viss wisdom my off and on career in congress from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. no named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways, thank goodness. in spite of my efforts the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and a prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. wars are constant, and pursued without congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant, and dependency on the federal
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government is now worse than any time in our history. all this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer. a never mentioned bipartisan agreement allows for the well kept secret that keeps the spending going. one side doesn't give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn't give up one penny on welfare spending. while both sides support the bailouts and the subsidies for the banking and corporate elite, and the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. as the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe. a major stumbling block to real change in washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. this has made compromising just
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to agree to increased spending inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending. the country and congress will remain divisive since there is no newt left to divvy up. without this recognition the spenders in washington will continue to march towards a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming january. i thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty as a solution have been so poorly in convincing others of its benefits. if liberty is what he woo claim it is, the principle that protects all personal, socioeconomic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity, and the best chance for peace, should be an easy sell. yet history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled. should we have authoritarianism
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or liberty? if authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals, and is controlleded by rich special interest, the people should be begging for liberty. there certainly was a strong enough sentiment for freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful british government. during my time in congress the appetite for libertyy has been quite queak. the understanding of its significance, negligible. yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when i first came to congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and gross, especially in grassroots america. tens of thousands of teenagers and college-aged students are with great enthusiasm welcoming the message of liberty. i have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like
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ours allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have. freedom, private property, and voluntarily contracts generate wealth. in our early history we were very much aware of this. and the only part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary system had to change. if we were to involve ourselves in excessive economiesic and military spending, that is why congress gave us the federal reserve and the income tax. when americans and many government officials agreeing that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claim to be progressive ideas. pure democracy became acceptable. they failed to recognize that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists
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were seeking when they broke away from the british. some complain my arguments make no sense since great wealth and the standard of living improved for many americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies. but the damage to the market economy and the currency has been insidious and steady. it took a long time for consumer wealth to destroy the currency and get our obligations to a point of no return. confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved, most of our wealth today depends on debt. . it allowed concerned for the principle of a free society to be neglected. as long as most people believe the material would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary. the age of redistribution, this
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neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government, to any and all special interests except for those who just wanted to be left alone. that is why today money and politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts. when material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market. it is good that material benefits is the result of liberty but materialism is all that we care -- but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed. the crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail.
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we have ended up with a system that doesn't produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends. if this is not recognized, the recovery will linger for a long time. bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue. we need an intellectual awakening. without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law, a crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees. if it's not accepted that big government fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism and warfarism caused our crisis, we will expect a continuous march toward comparptism and fascism with even more loss of our
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liberties. prosperity for a large middle class, though, will become an abstract dream. this continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled. congress first directed with bipartisan support bailouts for the wealthy. then, it was the federal reserve with the quantitative easing. approximate at first you don't succeed, try again. qe-1, qe-2, qe-3 and then qe-indefinitely until it, too, fails. there is a cost to all of it. and i assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option. the rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won't be pretty. the current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism and the pessimisms -- the two feed on themselves making our situation
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worse. if the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood, we cannot solve our problems. the issue of warfare and welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored. by only expanding these policies, we cannot expect good results. everyone claims support for freedom, but too often it's for one's own freedom and not for others. too many believe there must be limits on freedom. they argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality, thus making it acceptable to curtail through certain liberties. some decide what and whose freedoms to be limited. these are the politicians whose goal in life is power. their success depends on gaining support from special
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interests. we don't need more isms. the great news is the answer is not to be found in more isms. the answers are to be found in more liberty, which costs so much less. under these circumstances, spending goes down, wealth production goes up and the quality of life improves. just this recognition, especially if we move in this direction, increases optimism which in itself is beneficial. the followthrough with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people. but it is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. the more this change in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be our return to optimism. our job for those of us who
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believe in a different system than the one that we had for the last 100 years has driven us to this unsustainable crisis is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated and moral system that provides the answers. we had a taste of it in our early history. we need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause. it worked but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates while ignoring freedom itself. now we have meter, but the door is open out of necessity for an answer. the answer available is based on the constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests. after over 100 years, we face a society quite different than the one that was intended by the founders. in many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the constitution from this
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danger has failed. skeptics at the time of the constitution was written in 1787 warned us of today's possible outcome. the insidous nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurances our great abundance gave us evolved into a dangerous period in which we now live. dependency on government largeess. today we face a dependence on government largess for almost every need, our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into saving their demands. here are a few examples. undeclared wars are commonplace. welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement. the economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary
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system. debt is growing exponentially. the patriot act and fisa legislation passed without much debate, resulted in a steady erosion of our fourth amendment rights. tragically, our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression with no complaints were the american people. the drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost. once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot of resentment for their way. it's now the law of the land that the military can arrest american citizens, hold them indefinitely without charges or trial. rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in washington. supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and
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w.t.o. trade retaliation call the true free trader isolationists. sanctions used to punish countries that don't follow our orders. bailouts and guarantees of all of misbehavior are routine. sanctions through monetary policies, mandates has been acceptable policy. i have a few questions. excessive government prompts many questions. why are sick people who are -- who use medical marijuana put in prison? why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk? why can't american manufacturers rope -- why aren't americans allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the constitution? why is germany concerned enough to consider repatiating their
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gold held by the fed for her in new york? is it that the trust in the u.s. and dollar supremacy beginning to wain? why do our political leaders believe it's necessary to thoroughly audit -- why do our political leaders believe it's unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold? why can't americans decide which type of light bulbing they can buy? why is it the t.s.a. permitted to abuse the rights of any american travel by air? why should there be mandatory sentences, even up to life for crimes without victims as our drug laws require? why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes? why is it political suicide for anyone to critical apac? why haven't we given up on the drug war since it's an obvious failure and violates the people's rights? has nobody noticed that the authorities can't even keep drugs out of the prisons? how can making our entire
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society a prison solve the problem? why do we sacrifice so much getting this -- getting necessarily involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most dangerous deadly border in the world -- the one between mexico and the united states? why does congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the executive branch? why does changing the party in power never change policy? could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same? why did the big banks, the large corporations and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes? why do so many in the government and officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth? why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from
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ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty? why can't people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty? why is there no little concern for the executive order that gives the president authority to establish a killing list, including american citizens, of those targeted for assassination? why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? real patriotism is the willingness to challenge the government when it's wrong. why is it that people won't or can't take care of their own needs that people in government are able to do it for them? why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people? why do so many members defend free markets but not civil
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liberties? why do so many members defend civil liberties but not free markets? aren't they the same? why don't more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty? why are there not more individuals that seek to intellectually influence individuals to bring about positive changes, those that seek changes -- than those who seek power and force others to obey their commands? why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars both which require authoritarians to use violence or the threat of violence go unchallenged? aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world's great religions. why do we allow the government and the federal reserve to disseminate false information dealing with economic and foreign policy? why is democracy held in such high esteem when it's the enemy -- when it's the enemy of the
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minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority? why should anyone be surprised that congress has no credibility since there's such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do? is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust and anger and frustration? yes, there is. and there's a way to reverse these attitudes. the negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems. identityification of the problems and recognizing -- identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easily. we should have more trust in ourselves, less in the government. too many people have -- far far too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough for themselves.
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fortunately now are becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades. the blame is shared by both political parties. many americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop. without this first step, solutions are impossible. . it pro-- promotes prosperity. the task is not that difficult if politics doesn't get in the way. we have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons. politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced. . this replaces the confidence in a free society. too many places of authority became convinced that only they, armed are arbitrary government power can bring about fairness while
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facilitating wealth production. . this always proves to be a utopian dream. it impoverishes the people. . no surprise wloo goes on in washington is by aggressive partisan ship and policy king with philosophic differences being minor. cazianism continues to thrive although today it's facing healthy enthusiastic rebuttals. believers in military canesinism continue to desperately promote their policy as the economy languishes in a deep slumber. they use humanitarian arguments to justify them. humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government man dates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal
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liberty. this is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge. but initiating violence for humanitarian reason is still violence. good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when the people use -- and force with bad intentions. the results are always negative. the only way use of force is the source of man's political problems. sadly, many religious groups, secularizations, and psychopathic authoritarians, endorse government initiated force to change the world. even when the desired goals are well-intentioned or especially when they are well-intentioned the results are dismal. the good ruts sought never materialized. the new problems created require even more government as a solution. the net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian
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grounds. this is the same fundamental reason our government uses force for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens. it is rather strange unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it's permissible to go into one's neighbor's house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke, and drink, or how to spend their money. yet rarely is it asked why is it morrallly acceptable that a stranger with a badge and gun could do the same thing in the name of law and order. any resistance is now with brute force, even imprisonment. this is done more frequently every day without a search warrant. no government monopoly over initiating violence is what we need .
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realizing a government rn monopoly for aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger, and breakdown of civil society. preventing such authority and expecting a saintly behavior from the brewer contracts and politicians, politicians is a pipe dream. we now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats and the t.s.a., c.i.a., f.b.i., fish and wildlife, corps of engineers, etc.,p citizens are protch guilty until proven innocent in the constitutional administrative corgets. government in a free society should have no authority to meddle into social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. all things peaceful, even when controversial should be permitted. we must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just as we do in the area of free speech and
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religious liberty. but even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech, a very dangerous trend. since 9/11, monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required. the proliferation of federal crimes. the constitution established four federal crimes. today the experts can't even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books. they number into the thousands. no one person request comprehend the enormity of the legal system, especially the tax code. due to the ill-advised drug wars and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code, we have over six million people under correctional suspension. more than the soviets ever had and more than any other nation today. including china. i don't understand the complacency of the congress and
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willingness to continue their obsession with passing more federal laws, more sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems. the federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code 72,000 pages, and expands every year. when will the people start shouting enough a is enough and demand congress to cease and desist. we should be doge -- what we should be doing is achieving liberty. liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the excessive use of force. if one seeks liberty the precise -- there are two choices available. one, a government designed to protect liberty is a natural right as its soul objective. people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person's liberty.
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government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownerships, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression. number two, a government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrary use force over the people and for a nation. though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into a limited political cancer. this is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages. though meant to be eliminated, 100% sacrifice of the principle that would be tyrants find irresistible. it is used vigorously though incrementally and insidiously. granting power to government officials always proves the adage that power corrupts. once government gets a limited
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concession for the use of force, because of the state erosion and steady move forward tyrannical government. only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny the government this arbitrary use of aggression. there is no in between. sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly. today's mess is a result of americans accepting option number two, even though the founders attempted to give us option number one. the results are not good as our liberties have been inverted, our wealth has been consumed. the wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. then they lend them back to us to perpetuate our debt system. it's amazing that it has worked for this long, but the impasse
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in washington in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of this worldwide debt crisis and the dangers we face. the longer this process continues, the harsher the outcome will be. the financial crisis is actually a moral crisis. a financial crisis looms, but few understand it's in reality a moral crisis. it's the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power. without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis, it will be difficult to prevent a steading march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it. ultimately the people have to decide which form of government they want. option number one or option number two. there is no other choice. tyranny is a choice of little tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a touch of
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pregnancy. it is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic plan something a worthy compromise. what we see today is a result of that type of thinking and the results speak for themselves. a culture of violence, americans now suffer from a culture of violence. it is easy to reject the initiation of violence against one's neighbor, but it's ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely give government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the american people practically at will. because it's the government that negotiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate. those who exert the force have no sense of guilt. it is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating violence supposedly to do good. they incorrectly believe this authority has come from the consent of the people. the victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government
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mandates. even when dictated by the majority. victims of t.s.a. excesses never consented to this abuse. this attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to do quood as well. -- good as well. war to prevent war for other purposes is justified. is similar to what we were once told that quote, destroying a village to save a village, close quote, was justified. it was said by u.s. secretary of state that the loss of 500,000 iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990's as a result of american bombs and sanctions was worth it to achieve the good we brought to the people of iran. look at the mess iraq is in today. government use of force the most social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms. the fact that violence by government is seen as morally
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justified is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well. first, we recognize that individuals shouldn't initiate violence. then we give the authority to the government. the use of government violence when things go badly will be used to justify an individual's right to do the same thing. neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another, yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority. if this cycle is not reversed, society will break down. when needs are pressing and conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and whims of the majority, it's then that -- it's them not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs. as the economy sfrates and the wealth sprepcy increase, as they
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already are occurring, violence increases as those in need taking in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs. they will not wait for a government rescue program. when government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. those who take us into undeclared wars will many casualties resulting never lose sleep over the deaths and destruction their bad decisions cause. they are convinced that what they do is morally justified in the fact that many suffered just can't be helped. when the street criminals do the same thing? they do have no remorse believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs. all moral standards become relative. whether it's bailing out privileges, government subsidies, or benefits for some, from inflating our currency, it's all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth.
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violence or a threat of such is unfortunately of little concern of most members of congress. some argue it's only a matter of fair ghest that those in need are cared for. there are two problems with this. first, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than to the poor. second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it's fair to those who end up paying for all the benefits. the costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class, and are hidden from the public eye. too many people believe government handouts are free. like pulling money out of thin air and there is no cost. that deception is coming to an end. the bills are coming due and that's what the economic slowdown is all about. sadly we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government. it is the tool for telling the people how to live what, to eat and drink, what to read, and how
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to spend their money. to develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected. granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession. limiting government excesses versus a virtuous moral people. our constitution was to limit the whole power and abuse has failed. the founders warned that in a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. the current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified. many politicians are aware of the problems we face trying to reform government. the sad part is the suggested reforms almost always leads to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored or not understood.
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it undermines it has a massive expansion of debt. the real question is -- if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government, reform or trying to understand what a virtuous and moral people mean and how to promote it? the constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both the rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government while ignoring the principles of a free society. all branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare, warfare state and frequently their own wealth and power. if the people are unhappy with the government performance, it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limits, power and love of freedom.
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if this is the problem, all the tinkering and the thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem. it is 70's evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the prosperity we still have is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time. this fictitious wealth based on the false trust in our currency and credit will play havoc to our society when the bills come to. our lost liberties is yet to be felt. that illusion is now ending. we need to accept a new approach. expect the rapidly expanding homeschool movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary forms needed to rebuild a free society. with constitutional protections. we cannot expect a federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our
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liberties. the internet will provide the alternative to the government media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. this is why it's essential that the internet remains free of government regulation. many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater -- by supporting war, welfare, corporatism and ignore the need for our virtueous people. i never believed that the world our country can be made more free by politicians if the people had no desire for freedom. under the current circumstances, the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves. if it is liberty that he had truly seek, without this a constitutional protected free society is impossible. if this is true, our individual
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goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one's natural ability in the most produckive manner possible, according to one's own talents. productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. freedom and not dependency provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. government cannot do this for us. it only gets in the way. when the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy, and these cannot provide a sense of personal achievement. achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. most of the change that is to come will not come from the politicians but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions. the solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands
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and aggressive force to most social and economic behavior. without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. it is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-relyant and productive become the vills. in conclusion, one of the greatest dangers that the american people face today the goal of a free society. there are five. the continuous attack on our civil liberties which threaten the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny. number two, violent anti-americanism that has engulfed the world. because the at the number none of broeback is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no
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business being in. national bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result. number three, the ease in which we go to war without a declaration by congress but accepting international authority from the u.n. or nato or even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression. a financial political crisis as a -- number four, a financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts and gross discrepancy in gross dispribution go from the mill class to the rich. the danger of central economic planning by the federal reserve must be understood. world government taking over local and u.s. sompt by getting involved in the -- sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, banking, taxes, property, ownership and private -- private ownership of guns must be addressed.
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happily, there's an answer for these very dangerous trends. what a wonderful world it would be if we accepted the moral premise of act of aggression. a suggestion is always too simplistic, utopian, dangerous and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal. the answer to that is after thousands of years, the acceptance of government force to rule over the people at the sacrifice of liberty was considered moral only option for achieving peace and prosperity. what can be more utopian than that? considering the results, especially looking at the state sponsored killing of nearly every government during the 20th century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of people. it's time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state. no good has ever come from granting monopoly power for the state to mold human behavior. such power when left unchecked becomes the sea of an ugly
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tyranny. this method of governance has been adequately tested and the results are in. the reality dictates we try liberty. the idealism of nonaggression and objecting the use of force should be tried. the idealism of more government sanction violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war. the theory of a he so site being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time. it's time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do today. today the principles of habeas corpus established when king john signed the magna carta in 1215 is under attack in our own government. there is every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the
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obsession of war and welfare. what i'm talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance. the founders were convinced that a free society could not,ist without a moral people. just writing rules won't work if the people choose to use them. those who work in washington -- benjamin franklin claimed, only a virtueous people are can have freedom. john adams said our constitution was made for a moral and religious people is wholly inadequate for a government of any other. and moral people just reject all violence in an effort to mold people's beliefs. one that ridicules going to war is not a moral society. all great religions endorsed the golden rule. the same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials. they cannot be exempt. the solution is not in the
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hands of the government. the solution falls on each and every individual with guidance of family, friends and community. the number one responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow. this is of greater importance in the working on changing the government. that is secondary to promoting a virtueous society. if we can achieve this then the government will change. it doesn't mean that holding office holds no value. at sometimes it nudges policy in the right direction but when it's true while seeking office is done for money or power, it becomes useful if not harmful. when political action is taken for the right reasons, it's easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. it's also become clear while progress is best achieved while working with coalitions which bring people together without anyone sacrificing his principles.
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political action to be truly beneficial must be directed toward changing the heart and minds of the people, recognizing that its virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish. the constitution or moral laws, per se, have no value if the people's attitudes aren't changed. to achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to overcome. number one is envy which leads to hate and class warfare. number two is intolerance which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies. this must be replaced by a better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. freedom when understood brings people together. when tried freedom is popular. the problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy. where a social interventionist are swayed by habit and lifestyle. the misunderstanding that
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tolerance is an endorsement of certain activity motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. neither envolunteerism. i have come to a firm conviction after trying to figure out the plain truth of things. the best chance of achieving peace and prosperity for the maximum number of people worldwide is to pursue the cause of liberty. if you think this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: jash. -- the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
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members of the gallery will be reminded that it is inappropriate to express approval or disapproval of house proceedings. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. paul: i move that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. as many as are in favor will signify by saying aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the house stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow for morning hour
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>> yesterday when we gathered here, i began my comments of standing here with our new members of congress by saying a picture is worth 1,000 words. that's what they say. i said then and i say now that this picture before you is worth millions of votes. millions of votes. [applause]
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millions of women's votes had a it took to re-elect president barack obama. millions of women's votes who helped us elect a record number of women to the congress of the united states. as you look forward understand that you are looking into the future. the future of empowerment of women in america. you saw some of these faces yesterday among the new members elect. i said then that they were part of the most diverse caucus in the history of the world, the first time that a parliamentary body would have a party when a majority of women and minorities as its strength, and we're very, very proud of that. said yesterday we did not have
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a majority but we have the gavel. excuse me. we don't have the gavel. [laughter] we don't have the -- we have something more important. we have unity. we do not have the gavel. we do not have the majority. but we have unity. i think our caucus this morning demonstrated that very clearly. so i come here with my sisters. when i came to congress 25 years ago, there were about 23 members of congress who were women out of 45. just think of that. 11 -- 12 democrats, 11 republicans. something like that. today we have over 60 house
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democratic women. very good. [applause] not enough. we want more. but all of us who were there that dozen early on, had a dozen of us there, we all took responsibility to try to pull more women into congress in our state delegations and across the country. i'm very proud that in california our delegation of democrats is the majority of women, not even counting our two senators, senator feinstein and senator boxer. so women are empowered in california. i'm also wanting to acknowledge, although our numbers are great here, two of our colleagues have gone on to the senate. senator-elect tammy baldwin -- and we're very proud of her. [applause] senator-elect mazie hirono.
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only the second woman of color to serve in the senate. so that's pretty, pretty exciting. and unfortunately we won't have kathy hochul and betty sutton in this next congress, but the future is soon and coming upon us and we know they will be making a great public contribution. so here we are in the past week since the election we're still finishing up some of our campaign. we're very proud of the success. as i said yesterday, and as you see here today. why is it important for us to make this statement of the strength of women in the congress of the united states, the house democratic women? because this is where the hopes and dreams of america's family are arriving. they may not know that. they may not know one party from the next and the rest, but we know that without rosa
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delauro we would not have lilly ledbetter and the paycheck fairness act. without gw erving n moore, we will not have the violence against women's act put forward the way it is. there's gwen right there. jackie speier working hard with so many members of our caucus. loretta sanchez to protect women in the military. [applause] we're so very, very proud of the chair of the democratics national committee, debbie wasserman schultz. [applause] i could go around here and talk about the leadership. certainly susan davis, women in the military, has been her issue for a long time. but in any event, the point is that if america is going to reach its full fulfillment as a
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nation, we must have the further empowerment of women. women in the military. if he want to be our strongest, we must give -- if we want to be our strongest, we must give women a chance to hold every job so they can attain the top job. we want women in business. how could it be there are fortune 500 and further than 20 c.e.o.'s in the fortune 500. if we want our economy to flourish and grow, we must uplift women leadership in our economy. very important. women in the academic world, women in health care, any subject you can name is more wholesome, more successful, more efficient with the involvement of women. and so when women came to the polls, when women came to the polls last week, they registered their support for
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those who understood the challenges that women face. it's really, really a remarkable thing. under the leadership of the women standing here, the voices of america's mothers, daughters, grandmothers will be heard. women are the breadwinners for our families, in many cases, the small business owners in our community. svent that right, nydia velazquez? and the workers that will spur our prosperity. they're holding jobs. they also are creating jobs as entrepreneurs and owners. and we keep our focus on women's rights, health, equal pay, choice. we know that women are focused on the same issues. all of us are. the economy, jobs, the future of the middle class and the national security of our country. they're concerned about fiscal soundness for america because they think about the future.
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as we move forward to debate our fiscal challenges in the weeks and months ahead, one thing is clear -- our economic agenda choices and decisions will be viewed through the perspective and the eyes of our nation's women, women and their needs and those of their families. so i have decided in light of the excitement accompanying our beautifully diverse caucus -- in san francisco i always say the beauty is in the mix. that's also where the strength is in the mix. and the size of our women's caucus, i'm not satisfied. we want more. but we are the largest element of political leadership for women in the country, larger than it's ever been. so i had made the decision that some of you may have some interest in. in order to continue work on
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empowering women, to making sure our affordable care act is enforced in a way that longer being a woman, be a pre-existing condition, to work with the president to create jobs and grow our economy in a way that empowers women in the workplace, to talk about a healthy political climate, to work with women to say we know one way to increase the involvement of women in the government and politics you must reduce the role of money and increase the level of civility and that would be a very good thing for our country. and would allow more women and more young people. [applause] so a healthy nation, a healthy political arena, a healthy planet. so pleased to hear what the
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president said about clean energy jobs for the future. as you know that's been a priority for me, and i want to look -- i look forward to working on those issues as we go forward. so it is about, again, healthy, fair economy, healthy people, healthy planet, healthy politics. you cannot separate the policy from the politics. if you want good -- walter said you cannot separate the bread box from the ballot box. if we want the right policies for america's working families, you must have politics that is fair and enables people who share those values to be elected. so in order to reignite the american dream -- that's what we're about -- to build ladders of opportunity for those who want to work hard, play by the rules, take responsibility, have those ladders about small business, entrepreneurship and a strong and thriving middle class, we have work to do.
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and i have made a decision to submit my name to my colleagues to once again serve as the house democratic leader. [applause] i'm so proud to stand here with you, my sisters. a lot of our male friends really wanted to come out here. this is girls morning out. any questions? >> leader pelosi, as you know -- >> did you have a moment that you considered not staying on? >> well, there wasn't really much time because when the election was over it wasn't over. it wasn't over because we still have about five races that we're watching very carefully. so my first time was spent, ok,
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working with steve israel to make sure we had the intellectual, financial, whatever resources to prevail in those races. my second time that i spent was to call people who were not successful in this particular election, because everybody here was getting a lot of calls. winning is very noisy. not succeeding is -- the bells don't ring that much. so i wanted to hear from them, what their views were about how we go forward. and then to absorb the calls of my colleagues to see what their view is. but i -- what i talked about here about changing the role of money and politics is really a very important motivator for me to stay in the leader's office. i think it must be done. when people say that, oh, and i read in the course of this week, money didn't make any
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difference in the campaign. they alwasted their money. well, that really wasn't true. the president of the united states, the most well-known famous respected person on the planet had to spend about $1 billion to set the record straight from what that other big money was putting out there. senate races, house races. tammy douglas had $4.6 million -- >> 7 at the end. >> million spent. this is outside money. $7 million outside money. this is a congressional race. this is not rice. our founders had in mind a government of the many, not the government of the money. you've heard me say that over and over again. so that was the motivating factor to me. of course it's at the will of my caucus and they conveyed to me their will that i should stay. so i'm proudly doing that.
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>> didn't you have a question yesterday? [laughter] >> some of your colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having a younger leadership and hurts the party in the long term. what's your response? [booing] >> next. next. you ask that question except to mitch mcconnell. >> you, mr. hoyer, mr. clyburn, you are all over 70. does it prohibit younger leadership from moving forward? >> so you're suggesting that everybody step aside? >> i'm saying it delays younger
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leadership. >> i think what you'll see -- let's for a moment honor it as a legitimate question. although it's quite offensive. the fact is -- the fact is is that everything that i have done in my almost -- i guess decade now of leadership, is to elect younger and newer people to the congress. in my own personal experience, it was very important for me to elect young women. i came to congress when my youngest child, alexandra, was a senior in high school, practically on her way to college. i knew that my male colleagues had come when they were 30. they had a jump on me because they didn't have -- i did what i wanted to do. i was blessed to have that opportunity to sequentially raise my family and come to congress. i wanted women to be here in greater numbers at an earlier
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age so that their seniority will start to count much sooner. and we wanted to keep bringing in younger people. some of the decisions that we made over the years to invest when we won the house in 2006 and then in other -- in races before and since was to encourage people to come. and when they come here to give them opportunity to serve. so i don't have any concern about that. i always say to you, you got to take off 14 years from me because i was home raising a family, getting the best experience of all in diplomacy, interpersonal skills. the answer is no. >> did it encourage you to return as democratic leader and i'm also to follow-up, when did you actually reach a final
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decision you'd stay on? >> you know my conversations with the president are not ones that i share. ok. i had -- my issues -- my colleagues made it very clear -- in fact, i think they must have coordinated with each other because their message was clear. don't even think of leaving. that's what i got over and over and fwofere again. i said, is this a coincidence or what? but my decision really, do i love what i do? of course. do i -- am i honored by the support of my colleagues? endlessly. but i had to talk this over with my family because it is an enormous time commitment, and the encouragement i got from them really made the -- now, my
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brother, tommy, wasn't as keen on it as my children were. he wanted to spend more time with me. but my kids were busy. [laughter] in any event, i'd say final yesterday. yesterday. probably. didn't you run for leader after that muss conference yesterday? yeah probably finally yesterday. in fact, i called my brother, tommy, this morning to tell him my final decision. because really being actively involved in politics at this level is really insat yabble. what i said -- insatiable. what i said to him, there's not enough hours in the day for me. there's so much i want to do. you can only sleep so less.
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right? and i know anything i say really is something that any one of these women up here could be saying about their own personal decisions about their lives to continue in the role that they have. each one of those roles is very important. in two weeks perhaps i will be leader again. but we all have to husband -- maybe beater word or something -- but we all have to meet out our time which is the most finite commodity of all in a way that keeps us in balance. but from the standpoint of the victory that we had at the polls rls i wouldn't think of walking away -- polls, i wouldn't think of walking away. [applause] as we talked about yesterday is we did win 25 seats. we didn't net 25 seats.
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there are 16 republicans over there that won't be back in january. and they will be replaced by the beautiful diversity of america. 49 new members. about 25% of our caucus is brand new. i want to see them succeed here and i want to see them return. but it's always more about the issues than the politics. it's about a healthy political system, a healthy america, a healthy planet and healthy economy that is fair. something like your mom. it's always about health. so i feel pretty good about the decision. decisions are fabulous. they're liberating. you know that when you make a job decision how liberating it is once you accept that. yes, ma'am. >> how difficult is it for you to lead with us again?
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>> oh, it's no problem at all. in fact, i'm glad you asked that question. i think we all share an enthusiasm. my colleagues, correct me if i'm wrong. there's something very positive about this election, that this president who was held under such terrible comments by the other side, was re-elected. that was important for the issues that we care about -- health care, medicare, you name it. but it was also important because we did not have a rejection of president barack obama. and this is what we carry in our hearts. this is a very, very important decision america made and the world was watching. at the same time we got i think still the record shows more votes, more votes than the republicans in terms of
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reaching out for our members to re-elect them and to increase our numbers. so that was very positive. and so it's almost liberating to be here with a democratic president whose commitment to the future is based on values, shared values with the american people, a commitment to strive for bipartisanship, that's all -- we all come here to do that same thing. and so it's -- i don't want to say it's better than having the gavel, but it's better than it would have been the last term. it's better than the last term. infin italy better than the -- infinitely better than the last term. those that were earnt government ideologues, some of them are government and that message has largely been rejected by the american people.
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so it isn't about the gavel, though we'd like to have it. it's about the unity we share. it's about the important work we can do and it's about thinking a little longer term. a little longer term about the path that our country is on and where we would go. >> madam speaker -- >> i'll have this gentleman here. >> how much of your decision is that you'll be at the table to defend some of the things that you worked so hard for from 2008 to 2010, how much of that played into your decision? >> my colleagues said don't even think of leaving. and to some others is, you've done all the heavy lifting. now sit down at the table. and that really was important to a large number of our colleagues. well, for some people in the general public, the thought of four men at that table was not
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an appealing sight, however excellent they may be, however excelen. so the idea i would walk away from the table was not -- outside the congress that was something we heard a lot about. inside the congress i think my deletion knew what i could bring to that table. yes, sir. >> a moment ago you claimed victory. but in fact your stated goal has been to bet that gavel back. having failed to do that, why do you deserve to return to this position? >> well, my stated -- our stated goal was to drive for 25. and on that drive down that path we did elect 5 new members of congress. we did not net 25, but we made enormous progress. we made more progress than anybody thought we would do. the republicans the morning of the election said they were going to win 16 seats. and we won 16 of their seats. when president -- when
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president george w. bush was elected president in his re-election, the republicans picked up three seats. when president clinton was re-elected in 1996, the democrats picked up two seats. when president eisenhower was elected in 1956, the republicans picked up two seats. we picked up as many seats as all three of those presidents did in their re-elect. so we believe that it was a stunning evening for democrats. stunning victory for democrats. i salute chairman steve israel, as i did yesterday. being a spectacular field marshal in all of this. i commend all of my leaders and co-leader steny hoyer and so many members of the leadership, steny hoyer, john clyburn, mr. becerra. the list goes on and on.
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and the women who traveled into districts. we were thinking that it was possible and it was. i would say one disappointment that i have is that medicare message, which was at stake, was so misrepresented by the republicans that the public was confused. people would say, why are the democrats want -- we weren't. democrats used savings of medicare to extend it for another decade, to provide benefits immediately. immediately. for seniors right now. republicans took that same money and gave tax cuts to the rich. and that was the message that outside money spent to misrepresent. and that is why the election of barack obama was so very, very important, to protect medicare. even though we could not get the majority, we knew when he
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won that many of the issues -- affordable care, medicare, etc., were protected. so we have a different view of what happened that day. you saw some of you of the members that we elected, the intellect that we brought in here. it's not so much quantity as the quality of leadership, the quality of our members, the ideas that they have, the talent they bring, the commitment and dedication to a better future. we are solidly -- we may not have the majority and we may not have the gavel, but we have the unity and we have the unity to go forward to create jobs, to build our economy. simple as abc. american made, as steny would say, make it in america. build the infrastructure of america. right? and see tax cuts for the middle class, tax cuts for the middle class, we can do that. we can prevent us from going
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over the cliff. we look forward to working with our great president and we congratulate the senate on adding to their numbers, especially adding so many women to -- to the senate. do we have time for one more question? >> after the election, the republicans are still demanding some structural changes to medicare as part of the discussion to solve the fiscal cliff puzzle. however are democrats willing to go -- how far are democrats willing to go? >> this will be familiar too. when we go to the table and everything is on the table, we will make judgments about how we grow the economy, which is the best way to reduce the deficit -- jobs reduce the deficit. how do we create jobs? what cuts are necessary to achieve that without hurting investments in education which brings more money to the treasury than any initiative you can name. and what are the revenues that will come to balance all of
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that? our commitment as democrats is that we believe that social security and medicare are pillars of economic and health security for america's seniors. they should not be used -- in order to give tax cuts to the rich. any adjustments we would make in them would be to make them stronger as we did in the affordable care act with medicare, to prolong its life, increase its benefits and keep america's seniors healthy. i think now it's time for us to go back to work, because there's so many of us here. but aren't we proud of the fact that we have 61 women? now we have to double. we have to double our number. but again there is nothing more wholesome and the politics and government of our country than the increased participation of women, the empowerment of women in the political process. thank you all very much.
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cappingscamings [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> maine senator-elect angus king said he'll vote with democrats and caucus with the party in the coming years. maine elected the governor to the senate last week making two
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independents that will serve in the caucus, along with bernie sanders of vermont. this is a little less than 10 minutes. >> good morning. i'd like to outline my thinking on this issue and set out the principles that have guided my decision. in answering this, who will you caucus with, question repeatedly during the campaign, and i emphasize the word repeatedly, i established two basic criteria that i wanted to maintain my independence as long and as thoroughly as possible while at the same time
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being effective in my representation of maine. the first option i considered was whether i could literally go at it alone. and not align myself with either party and operate entirely outside of the current partisan structure of the senate. although tempting in many ways, it has become apparent from extensive research into the senate rules and precedence as well as familiar operations of the senate that this simply would not be practical and in fact would severely promize my ability to be effective on behalf of maine. the principled disadvantage of this go at it alone approach is that i would be largely exduded from the committee process which is where most of the work of any legislative body takes place. occasionally my vote would probably prove crucial and be eagerly sought by both sides
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but in the long run i would be regular gaited to the sidelines as the day-to-day work of the senate was done by others. the second question then, if i'm going to caucus or associate myself with the caucus, which side to choose. and the outcome of last week's elections in some ways makes this decision relatively easy. in a situation where one party has a clear majority and effectiveness is an important criteria, affiliating with the majority makes the most sense. the majority has more committee slots to fill, has nor control over which bills get considered and more control over the senate schedule. but the question remains -- what does caucusing mean? and this is a question i raised continuously in the campaign. and how does this decision affect my intention to remain as independent as possible?
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in order to answer this, i had substantial conversations with two independent senators currently serving in the senate. both of whom are affiliated with the democratic caucus. joe lieberman of connecticut and bernie sanders of vermont. both confirmed that the democratic caucus generally and its leadership in particular had consistently allowed them to maintain their independent positions and had never forced positions on them. secondly, i had lengthy discussions with the democratic leader of nevada, harry reid, as well as my good friend, george mitchell of maine, on this very question. i came away from these conversations reassured that my independence would be respected and that no party line commitment would be required or expected.
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and so i've decided to affiliate myself with the democratic caucus, because doing so will allow me to take independent positions on issues as they arise and at the same time will allow me to be an effective representative of the people of maine. one final word. by associating myself with one side, i am not in automatic opposition to the other. i'd like to repeat that. by associating myself with one side, i am not in automatic opposition to the other. in the situation of a republican house, a democratic senate but with substantial powers residing in the minority and a democratic president, no one party can control the outcome of our collective deliberations. as bill clinton might say, it's just arithmetic. in fact, this situation of a divided government has only two
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possible outcomes. action based upon good-faith compromise, or no action resulting from political deadlock. in my opinion, this latter, no action based upon deadlock, is simply unacceptable to the people of maine and to the people of the united states. we must find a way to act, because many of the problems before us, the debt and deficit is probably the best example, have a time fuse. the longer we avoid acting, the worse they get. in this case no decision is itself a decision. and it is almost undoubtedly the wrong decision. the challenges before us are too great, and the stakes are too high to allow partisan differences to keep us from finding common ground, even on the most difficult issues. and i hope that in a small way
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-- in a small way i may be able to act as a bridge between the parties. an honest broker to help nudge us towards solutions. i've talked with more than a dozen senators of both parties in the past three days and have been impressed by their seriousness of purpose and good-faith desire to serve the country. i am truly humbled and honored to be among them and look forward to working with each of them in the months and years to come as we struggle to fulfill the fundamental promise of the constitution -- to form a more perfect union. thank you very much, and i'd be glad to take a few questions. >> sir, you said that you'd be more productive affiliated with the majority. if the republicans were majority, would you caucus with
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them? >> there would be a question of the majority and also the question, which i emphasized, on my ability to maintain my independence. >> governor, what's your view, the way the filibuster works in the senate and the cloture rule, how do you see yourself voting on some these? >> well, i represent a small state, and the filibuster and the rules of the senate in many ways are designed to protect the interests of small states, so i'm not one who thinks they should be abolished altogether. however, i think it's use in recent years has been excessive and i think to talk with other senators who are more expert in this matter to find a solution that would limit its use as a -- as a tactic of delay and
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prohibiting action. but at the same time protect the interests of the other states. somewhere between no filibuster at all and the current situation, i think there's got to be some middle ground. in fact, i'm going to be talking with various senators about that over the next few days. >> [inaudible] >> i discussed with senator reid several committee assignments, and of course it's a very complicated process where he has to determine who's moving where, what openings there are, and i indicated several committees that i would be interested in but there were no -- there was no promises made except fair and full consideration of my interest as a senator and as a representative of maine. yes, sir. >> [inaudible] >> my father used to say if you don't ask you don't get. the finance committee certainly i think is being to be a very
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important committee over the next several years because of the probability of comprehensive tax reform as part of the debt solution. i did raise that with senator reid. he pointed out to me that it took senator kerry 14 years to get on the finance committee. it might be somewhat unlikely for a first-year senator to achieve that. but as i say, never harm -- no harm in asking. i'm going to leave that between myself and senator reid. >> i'm sorry. >> sorry. >> could you just reiterate? you said you spoke to senator reid. did you speak to senator mcconnell? >> i did not speak to senator mcconnell. i did however speak to senator blunt, who's the second -- the second leader in the republican caucus, and we had a very good conversation. so, yes, did i not talk to senator mcconnell. did talk to senator blunt.
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also heard from senator corker. mike johanns who was a colleague of mine as governor, and a number of other republicans, but the sort of -- the conversation with the republican leadership was with senator blunt. >> why weren't you able to talk with senator mcconnell? >> sorry? >> why didn't you talk with senator mcconnell? >> he didn't contact me. >> governor, the negative advertising that republicans and republican affiliated groups have? >> i can honestly look at you in the eye and say zero. that's history. >> what did president obama's victory have on the -- >> the question was what influence, if any did president obama's victory have? i don't think it had a significant influence. my real focus was, as i mentioned, two issues --
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independence and ability to be effective on behalf of maine. i understand senator reid is here. he's -- he wants to see what i've said. senator, thank you. >> senator-elect king represents the best quality of what the united states senator should be. number one, he's independent. and number two, he's a man of principle. always has been. i welcome him to the caucus. we have a strong tradition of independence. no better exemplified by senator lieberman and senator sanders. and i embrace that independence. we as a caucus embrace that independence. i'm confident that senator king will be a bridge to working with republicans and explaining
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to the american people what we need to accomplish more for a country. i repeat, i couldn't be happier with any person coming to the caucus than angus king, who i admire and have for many years at a distance. >> thank you, sir. >> angus king joining the democratic caucus. senate democrats and republicans house leadership elections -- held leadership elections this morning. texas senator john cornyn is the new minority whip. and south dakota john thune now becomes the conference chairman. here's more from minority leader mitch mcconnell on the changes.
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>> well, good afternoon, everyone. welcome back. the american people have spoken. a week ago they decided in many ways to continue the status quo with divided government. we have a lot of big challenges confronting us here at the end of the cycle, but i would remind everyone that divided government sometimes has done very important things for the country. think of ronald reagan and tip o'neill reforming social security. ronald reagan and tip o'neill doing the last comprehensive tax reform. bill clinton and a republican congress doing a welfare reform and actually balancing the budget. so we look forward to making this divided government productive for the american people, and we have, of course, as everyone well knows, a lot of challenges here at the end of the year.
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i'll be meeting with the president and the other leadership on friday to talk about the way forward, and we lookford to being part of the solution to -- look forward to being part of the solution to these significant problems. i'll send it over to our new minority whip, senator cornyn of texas. >> thanks, mitch. it's an honor to be elected by my colleagues to serve as the whip, the assistant leader on the republican side. as leader mcconnell has said, we have a lot of very difficult work to do, but we are committed to working with our colleagues across the aisle to solving the nation's urgent problems. we know what those are in the lame duck and we know what those are going forward. there's no mystery about that, nor is there really any mystery to some of the solutions based on the president's own bipartisan fiscal commission and others that have sort of laid out the road map and have shown us a way to address those issues.
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i'm looking forward to working more cleesely with my colleagues now in a -- closely with my colleagues. i view as my role model for that, the services of senator jon kyl who will remain our whip through the end of the year, who has been an outstanding member of the united states senate and someone who's left very big shoes to fill. >> thank you. i want to thank my colleagues to serve and look forwarded to working with our leadership to do some good things to the country. the elections are over with, and this is an opportunity for us to turn the page. but that means that the president of the united states has got to lead. he's got to step forward and help us deal with the most immediate crisis which is the fiscal cliff, and then as we look down the road to the things that we can do to really get this country back on track, get the economy growing again, create jobs, put americans back to work, those are all things that are in our deprass of,
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that are in sight if we're willing to do the right things to make them happen. of course, we all know the issue that's being debated right now is the issue of taxes. we have -- there's so much analysis out there, so many economists, so many groups that have studied this issue carefully and have said if we raise taxes in a down economy it's going to cost us economic growth next year. it's going to cost us 700,000 jobs. it's going to reduce take-home pay for many americans. that is the wrong direction in which to go, but we believe that the president, if he's willing to, has be a opportunity to work with americans. we stand ready here in the senate. i know the house republicans do as well to work with him on a solution that will deal with this immediate crisis with the fiscal cliff but just as importantly the long-term fiscal solve vensy of this country and getting our economy growing again and getting americans back to work. >> i also want to thank my colleagues for allowing me to continue as chairman of the republican policy committee.
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continue to work with my colleagues on the issues that all of americans are concerned about. and those are the issues of jobs, the economy, the debt and spending and i'm going to continue to provide them with credible, reliable, accurate and timely information to make sure each of them can be most effective as we deal with these major issues that are facing our country. >> the new member of this group, it's a real pleasure to be here, look forward to developing a good working relationship with those who have cameras and microphones. express my gratitude to my colleagues for giving me an opportunity to serve in this capacity. we'll certainly work hard to see that good things happen in a political sense for republican senators. but i fully recognize that the success of politics follows governing well. so i'm looking forward to working with leader mcconnell and others within our conference to make sure we make the right decisions on behalf of america so that if we do our
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jobs well as united states senators, good things will happen in the political realm as well. so we are working hard to develop the right team at the senate campaign committee and i'm pleased to tell you that senator portman has agreed to be vice chair of finance, to help us in acquiring the necessary resources to are -- and senator-elect cruz will be part of the nrsc for purpose of grassroots operations and political outreach. so we have already in place the beginnings of a team that will work hard to make a difference, not just on behalf of republicans but on behalf of all americans. thank you very much.
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>> thank you. >> take a couple questions. >> yeah. >> yesterday the white house reiterated their request for 1.6 billion dollars in revenue as very much. >> thank you. >> take a couple questions. >> yeah. >> yesterday the white house reiterated their request for 1.6 billion dollars in revenue as part of a $4 trillion package. is that something, is anything along the lines that republicans could ultimately agree to if there were entitlements alongside? >> look, i can only echo what the speaker said very correctly last week. republicans believe that there is a way to get additional revenue. we also believe that additional revenue should be tied to the only thing that will save the country in the long run and that is reforming entitlements. we know that you can't raise taxes enough to solve the problem. in fact, the big argument during the campaign over whether or not we should raise tax rates on people above $250,000 would have produced enough revenue to fund the government for six days. so we know it may be a good political talking point but don't really deal with the problem. we're open to discussing all of this with the problem. we all -- everybody who studied the issue knows until you make
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our entitlement programs fit the future demographic of our country, the demographics of our country you can't possibly solve our long-term debt and deficit problem so we're open to discussing all of this with the members. we had endless discussions about it last year. the american people have chosen divided government once again. as i said earlier, divided government has frequently done big things for the country. and we're ready to sit down and talk about it. as you know the first meeting that i'll be involved in is friday. >> senator mcconnell, it's been a disappointing election cycle for republicans. what changes do you make going to pick up seats in 2014 >> we are going to turn the corner. the american people voted for the status quo. we still have a republican house. a democratic senate and a democratic president. i think they're saying they want us to tackle some of these problems and get them behind us. today is not the day to continuing the campaign. in fact we ought to turn the
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campaign off and turn the corner and start working on these serious problems that confront us. we're ready to sit down with the president and the democratic majority in the senate and get to work. thanks a lot. >> senate republicans weren't the only ones holding leadership elections today. democrats held theirs but with no changes. majority leader harry reid said he's pleased with his dauks and he hopes democrats will push to changes to the filibuster procedures to help make the senate more effective. here's his briefing. it's 10 minutes. >> we are all grateful that the caucus supported us and the positions we held in the 112th congress. i talked to my caucus about this leadership team which i so admire and have been so faithful and so good to the caucus and to the country. we look forward to meeting the challenges ahead of us. we know what those challenges
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are. this is the first opportunity we had to bring the caucus together and to meet with all the new democratic senators. the incoming senators are all accomplished in their own right. representing states from all over this country. and i'm very happy to say that we were able to add to the number of women. about 1/3 of our democratic caucus is women. and one of the things we did update, special election that we just had, we presented senator murray with 40 red roses. they were really beautiful. representing her 20 years in the senate plus the 20 women that are now in the united states senate. our incoming freshmen are anxious to do a lot of good things. they've said that and that's what they will do. we ran a message led by senator murray from montana to
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massachusetts, and the american people told us loud and clear that they agreed on our balanced approach. so this approach we're going to take to the remainder of this congress and into the new one which will begin very, very soon. questions? >> senator reid, now being your fourth term as majority leader, do you have any thoughts on surpassing l.b.j., george mitchell in >> i'm just going to continue doing my job. i don't really -- i have not looked at the arithma particulars of all that -- arithmetics of all that stuff. >> senator reid naublenauble >> well, we are -- everyone should understand we are going to move to change what the republicans have done to make the senate an institution that
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has no bearing on when lyndon johnson was president or george mitchell was president or even when bill frist was the majority leader. they have made this almost an impossible task to get this done. the motion to proceed, which they've abused, which they've abused -- do you realize we have the farm bill, the postal bill and many other things and we need to go to conference on like also the tax bill that we passed over here? we can't go to conference. why? because it takes three filibusters. we have to overcome three filibusters to go to conference. i think that's something we should change. so the rules are going -- we are going to make an attempt to change the rules, and we're working -- we are working to make sure we have the votes to do that. >> the senator of massachusetts lamented [inaudible]
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>> i'm glad i have the chance to respond to that. i saw during the campaign his plea for bipartisanship. that is a big joke. it's a travesty. he was one of the most partisan people that's ever served here. he could have saved citizens united. he could have been the 60th vote on that and many other things, so i don't need a lecture from him on bipartisanship. he should go look in the mirror. >> [inaudible] >> i wanted to tell you earlier you should never chew gum. just like you are in school. get rid of it. >> ok. >> i wanted to tell you earlier but didn't have a chance. john kerry is my friend. i worked so hard for him when he was running for president.
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i did everything i could to help him. and he came very, very close. there's been no better legislator that i served with. he's been way out front on issues dealing with climate change, infrastructure, bank development and many other things. so i don't know any conversation that the president or nip in the white house has had with -- anyone in the white house has had with him and any conversation i have with john kerry he does not bring up about him being secretary of anything. but i'll do anything to help him if he's chosen. we feel very comfortable if in fact something does happen, we feel comfortable in massachusetts. i think that i've already told you how i feel about scott brown. >> what do you think his
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priorities should be coming out of today's conference? >> the president's priorities are as he outlined in his campaign. protect the middle class and small business. we're one vote away from that being accomplished. all we have to do is have the house of representatives bring up our bill. we brought up their bill. it was roundly defeated. so they should do this to help the american people. all the other issues that the president has laid out a program on, job creation, we need to do that, so the president doesn't need any -- doesn't need any information from me. he knows what he's going to do. and he's pointed in the right direction. >> senator, what do you suggest -- >> last question.
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>> you probably couldn't hear the question. she said what do i expect from the meeting at the white house on friday and what about entitlement cuts? i have made it very clear, i've told anyone that will listen, including everyone in the white house, including the president, that i am not going to be part of having social security as part of these talks relating to this deficit. social security, i'm happy we have some independent commission, like the greg-conrad commission dealing with the debt to deal with social security. social security is not part of the problem. that's one of the myths the republicans have tried to create. social security sound for the next many years. but we want to make sure that in the outer year, people are protected also. but it's not going to be part of the budget talks as far as i'm concerned. as you know, we've strengthened
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medicare with our health care bill. we prolonged the life of it for 1 years. we saved hundreds of billions of dollars, all that saving went to recipients. so i'm -- we're not going to be geshting thins here. i've given you my personal feelings about where we need to go. take care of the middle class and have the rich thoves rich contribute a little bit to helping our economy and that, the majority of the people who are fortunate, made a lot of money, they're willing to do this. democrats, independents, and republicans support the direction of the president regarding this fiscal cliff issue. thanks, everybody. >> the house republican caucus is electing leadership positions for the next congress today. many of the leadership positions are expected tory re-main the same including majority leader eric cantor and house whip kevin mccarthy.
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the main tossup race is between represent i haves tom price and cathy mcmorris rodgers for republican conference chair that position would be the third ranking house republican. house speaker john boehner is expected to talk about those positions at a news conference shortly. that will be live here on c-span in about an hour from now at 5:00 p.m. eastern. this weekend, two days of nonfiction books. with author panels, author interviews, your calls, emails and tweets. featured authors include bill o'reilly and others, including a look at the posthumous christopher hitchens book and a discussion with his widow.
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find more at fiebook.com/booktv. >> c-span invites students to send a message to the president for a chance to win the grand prize of $5,000. c-span's student cam video competition is open to students grades six through 12 and the deadline is january 18, 2013. for complete details and rules, go online to studentcam.org. >> on capitol hill today, republican senators john mccain, lindsay graham and kelly ayon called for creating a temporary select committee to investigate the attack in libia. they also said they would move to block the nomination of ms. rice as secretary of state. here's part of what they had to
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say. >> senator, do you think there was a national security threat in -- and thousands of -- in thousands of pages of information ended up on a florida socialite in secret emails involving the head of the c.i.a. and a top general in afghanistan and the fact that the federal bureau of investigation agent who was complaining to you stepped out of the chain of command and went to a house republican leader rather than anyone else, do you think that's a potentially greater national security threat like you're talking about? >> i say that's one of the dumbest questions i've ever heard. there's four dead americans. there's four dead americans. not a socialite, not a socialite, i'm answering your question. do you want me to answer your question or do you want to
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interrupt? which do you want? there's four dead americans. the lives of other americans were put in jeopardy. this is a matter of four dead americans. i think that the other issue raised is very serious. i think it deserves a thorough and complete investigation. but it does not rise to the level of an attack on american consulate that took four american lives. and i'm sorry if i was -- >> do you think it's a security threat? >> i think it's certainly a national security issue but it doesn't rise to the level of four dead americans? >> could it threaten more than four lives? >>ening any security breach could threaten more but the fact is there are four dead. >> do you agree this story is getting weirder by the day? there's the weird and the strange and the human failings in one camp and there saleh jit mat question about national security being breached in the other catch. the goal of this investigation
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is to have professional staff that hears everyone testify, the same set of senators who hearing everyone testify so we can segregate out the weird from the national security. and there is beginning to be a national security component to the human failings that i want to know about. we've got four dead american bus at the end of the day who knows where this thing is going to go. and my hope is that when we tell the american people this was a human failing, not a national security component of it, that we will have a process that will give them confidence, that republicans and democrats can say together, we looked at this together, we looked at in it a professional, coordinated fashion and here's the difference between a human failing and a national security breakdown. the current process, and since you cover me, i like you, i don't want to associate myself
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with john, but the bottom line is, this process, process has to give the public confidence that we know the difference between a human failing, error of judgment and a national security breach. i'm telling you right now if we don't have a select committee, we're going to fail to get the answers that the american people deserve and the process that we're involved in today is too disjointed to get to the truth. i'm begging my colleagues, don't call it watergate if that makes you mad or makes you gyp set. call it the 9/11 commission inquiry. call it the iraq study group. we're putting examples on the table where there were select committees around republican failures. now this is a failure in a democratic administration that afingts more than democrats. so let's get to the bottom of it. >> i didn't know that you covered senator graham. that was one of the smartest questions i've -- >> i covered you in your failed attempt -- >> you can see all of that news conference here on c-span
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tonight at 10:00 eastern. right now at c-span.org. a quick update on the house republican caucus elections. cathy mcmorris rodgers was elected as republican conference chair. we'll have more on that with house speaker john boehner live at 5:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. meanwhile, president obama held a news conference this afternoon where he responded to republican senators' opposition to u.n. ambassador susan rice and talked about the resignation of c.i.a. david depe trayus. s the president's first news conference since being elected to a second term. >> good afternoon, everybody. please have a seat. i hear you have some questions for me. but let me just make a few remarks at the top and then
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i'll open it up. first of all, i want to reiterate what i said on friday. right now, our economy is still recovering from a very deep and damaging crisis. so our top priority has to be jobs and growth. we've got to build on the progress that we've made. because this nation succeeds when we've got a growing, thriving middle class. and that's the idea at the core of the plan that i talked about on the campaign trail over the last year resm warding manufacturers and small businesses that create jobs here, not overseas, providing more americans the chance to earn skills that brisse looking for right now. keeping this country at the forefront of research, technology, and clean energy, putting people back to work rebuilding roads, bridges and schools and reducing our deficit in a balanced and responsible way. on this last item, we face a very clear deadline. that requires us to make some
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big decisions on jobs, taxes, and deficit pis the end of the year. both parties voted to set this deadline. and i believe that both parties can work together to make these decisions in a balanced and responsible way. yesterday, i had a chance to meet with labor and civic leaders for their input. today i meet with c.e.o.'s of some of america's largest companies. and i'll meet with leaders of both party of congress before the week is out because there's only one way to solve the channels and that is to do it together. as i've said before, i'm open to compromise and i'm hope to new ideas. and i've been encouraged over the last week to hear republican after republican agree on the need for more revenue from the wealthiest americans as part of our arhett me tick if we're serious about reducing the deficit. because when it comes to taxes, there are two pathways available. option one, if congress fails to act by the end of this year,
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everybody's taxes will automatically go up, including the 98% of americans who make less than $250,000 a year and the 97% of small businesses who earn less than $250,000 a year. that doesn't make sense. our economy can't afford that right now. certainly no middle class family can afford that right now. and nobody in either party says they want it to happen. the other option is to pass a law right now that would prevent any tax hike whatsoever on the first $250,000 of everybody's income. and by the way that means every american including the wealthiest americans get a tax cut. it means that 9 -- 9 % of all americans and 97% of all small businesses won't see their taxes go up a single dime. the senate has already passed a law like this. democrats in the house are ready to pass a law like this. i hope republicans in the house come on board too.
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we should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy. we should at least do what we agree on and that's to keep middle class taxes lower. and i'll bring everyone in to sign it right away so we can give folks some certainty before the holiday season. i won't pretend that figuring out everything else will be easy but i'm confident we can do it. i know we have. to i know that that's what the american people want us to do. that was the very clear message from the election last week. that was message of a letter i received over the weekend. it came from a man in tennessee who began by writing that he didn't vote for me. which is ok. but what he said was, even though he didn't give me his vote, he's giving me his support to move this country forward. and he said the same to his republican representatives in
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washington. he said that he'll back each of us rartless -- regardless of party as long as we work together to make life better for all of us. he made it clear that if we don't make enough progress he'll be back in touch. so my hope, he wrote, is that we can make progress in light of personal and party principles, special interest groups and years of business as usual. we've got to work together and put our differences aside. i couldn't say it better myself. that's precisely what i intend to do. with that, let me open it up for your questions. i'm going to start off with ben of a.p. >> thank you, mr. president. can you assure the american people that there have been no breaches of national security in the scandal involving generals petraeus and allen and
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do you think you and as commander in chief and the american epeople should have been told of the investigation before the election? >> i have no evidence from what i've seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security. obviously, there's an ongoing investigation. i don't want to comment on the specifics of the investigation. the f.b.i. has its own protocols in terms of how they proceed. i'm going to let director mueller and others examine those protocols and make some statements to the public generally. i do want to emphasize what i've said before. yen petraeus had an extraordinary career. he served this country with great distinction in iraq, in afghanistan, and as head of the c.i.a. by his own assessment, he did
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not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the director of the c.i.a. with respect to this personal matter he's now dealing with with his family and with his wife. it's on that basis that he tendered his resignation and it's on that basis that i accepted it. but i want to emphasize that from my perspective at least, he has provided this country an extraordinary service. we are safer because of the work that dave petraeus has done and my main hope right now is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side note on what has orse been an ex-troird -- has otherwise been an extraordinary career. >> what about voters? do they deserve to know?
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>> i think you'll to sr. to talk to the f.b.i. in terms of what their yen protocols are when it comes to what started off as a potential criminal investigation. one of the challenges here is, is that we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations. that's been our practice. and i think that there are certain procedures that the f.b.i. follow or d.o.j. follow when they're involved in these investigations. that's traditionally been how we do thins in part because people are innocent until proven guilty and we want to make sure we don't prejudge these kinds of situations and so my expectation is that they follow protocols they already established. jessica? >> mr. president, on the fiscal cliff two years ago, sir you said you wouldn't extend the bush era tax cuts put at the
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end of the day you did. so respectfully, sir, why should the american people and the republicans believe that you won't cave again this time? >> well, two years ago, the economy was in a different situation. we were still very much in the early parts of recovering from the worst economic crisis since the great depression. and ultimately we came together not only to extend the bush tax cuts but also a wide range of policies that were going to be good for the economy at that point. unemployment insurance extensions, payroll tax extensions, all of which made a difference and is part of the reason why what we've seen now as 32 consecutive months of job growth and 5.5 million job crease ated and the unemployment rate coming down. but what i said at the time is what i meant. which is this was a one-time
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proposition. and what i have told leaders privately as well as publicly is that we cannot afford to extend the bush tax cuts for the wealthy. what we can do is make sure that middle class taxes don't go up. and so, the most important step we can take right now, and i think the foundation for a deal that helps the economy, creates jobs, gives consumers certainty which means gives businesses confidence that they're going to have consumers during the holiday season, is if we right away say 9 % of americans are not going to see their taxes go up. 97% of small businesses are not going to see their taxes go up. if we get that in place, we are actually removing half of the fiscal cliff. half of the danger to our economy is removed by that single step.
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and what we can then do is shape a process whereby we look at tax reform, which i'm very eager to do, i think we can simplify our tax system. i think we can make it more efficient. we can eliminate loopholes and deductions that have a distorting effect on our economy. i believe that we have to continue to take a serious look at how we reform our entitlements because health care costs continue to be the biggest driver of our deficits. so there is a package to be shaped and i'm confident that parties, folks of good will in both parties can make that happen, but what i'm not going to do is to extend bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can't afford and according to economists will have the least positive impact on our
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economy. >> you've said that the wealthiest must pay more. would closing loopholes instead of raising rates for them satisfy you? >> i think that there are loopholes that can be closed and we should look at how we can make the process of deductions, filing process, easier, simpler. but when it comes to the top 2%, what i'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it, which would cost close to $1 trillion. and it's very difficult to see how you make up that $1 trillion if we're serious about deaf silt reduction just by closing loopholes and deductions. the math tends not to work. and i think it's important to establish a basic principle that was debated extensively in the course of this campaign. this shouldn't be a surprise to
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anybody. this was, if there was one thing that everybody understood, was a big difference between myself and mr. romney, it was when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, i argued for a balanced, responsible approach and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest americans pay a little bit more. i think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate and the majority of voters agreed with me. more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me. so we've got a clear majority of the american people who recognize if we're going to be serious about deficit reduction, we've got to do it in a balanced way. the only question now is, are we going to hold the middle class hostage in order to go ahead and let that happen? or can we all step back and say, here's something we agree on. we don't want middle class taxes to go up. let's go ahead and lock that in. that will be good for the economy. it will be good for consumers. it will be good for businesses.
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it takes the edge off the fiscal cliff. and let's also then commit ourselves to the broader package of deficit reduction that includes entitlement changes and includes potentially tax reform as well as, i'm willing to look at additional work we can do on the discretionary spending side. i want a big deal, i want a comprehensive deal, i want to see if we can, you know, at least for the foreseeable future proside -- provide serbity to piss and the american people so we can focus on job growth so that we're also investing in the things that we need. but right now, what i want to make sure of is that taxes on middle class families don't go up and there's an easy way to do that. we could get that done by next week. >> thank you, mr. president. on immigration reform, the criticism in the past has been
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that you did not put forth legislation with specific ideas and send it up to the hill. this time around you have said again that this will be one of the top priorities for a second term. will you then send legislation to the hill? and exactly what do you envision as broad imgation reform? does it include a legalization program? and also what lessons, if any, did democrats learn from this last election and the latino vote? >> well, i think what was incredibly encouraging was to see a significant increase in latino turnout. it is the fastest growing group in the country. and historically, what you've seen is latino vote at lower rates than the broader population. and that's beginning to change. you're starting to see a sense of empowerment and civic
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participation that i think is going to be powerful and good for the country. and it is why i'm very confident that we can get immigration reform done. before the election i had given -- given a couple of interviews where i predicted the latino vote would be strong and that would cause some reflection on the part of republicans about their position on immigration reform. i think we're starting to see that already. i think that's a positive sign. this is not historically been a partisan issue. we've had president bush and john mccain and others who have supported comprehensive immigration reform in the past. we need to seize the moment. my expectation is that we get a bill introduced and we begin the possess in congress very soon after my inauguration. some conversations i think are already beginning to take place among senators and congressmen and my staff about what would this look like? and when i say comprehensive
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immigration reform is very similar to the outlined of previous efforts of immigration reform. i think it should include a continuation of the strong border security measures we've take . we have to secure our borders. i think it should contain serious penalties for companies that are purposely hiring undocumented workers and taking advantage of them. and i do think that there should be a pathway for legal status for those who are living in this country, are not engaged in criminal activity, are here simply to work, it's important for them to pay back taxes, it's important nerm to learn english, it's porn for them to potentially pay a fine but to give them the avenue whereby they can resolve their legal status here in this country i think is very important. obviously making sure that we
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put in the law what the first step we've taken administrate iverly dealing with the dream act kids is very important as well. one thing i'm very clear about is that young people who are brought here through no fault of their own, who have gone to school here, pledge aid lieges to our flag, want to serve in our military, want to go to school and contribute to our society, that they shouldn't be under the cloud of deportation. this we should give them every opportunity to earn their citizenship. and so there are other components to it obviously. the business community continues to be concerned about getting enough high skilled workers and i am a believer that if you've got a ph.d. in physics or computer science who wants to stay here and start a business here, we shouldn't make it mard e-- harder for him to stay here, we should try to encourage him contribute to this society. i think that the agricultural sector has very specific concerns about making sure
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they've got a work force that helps deliver food to our tables. there are going to be a bunch of components to it but i think whatever process we have needs to make sure border security is strong, needs to deal with employers effectively, needs to provide a pathway for the undocumented here, needs to deal with the dream act kids, and i think that's something we can get done. chuck todd. where's chuck? >> mr. president, i want to follow up on a couple of -- both ben's question and jessica's question. strog do with ben's question -- >> how about the other question? >> i feel like you answered that one completely. are you withholding judgment on whether you should have known sooner that there was a po -- that there was an investigation into whether your c.i.a. correct lohr -- director, potentially there was a national security breach with your c.i.a. director.
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do you believe you should have known sooner or are you withholding judgment on that front. and the followup to jessica's question, tax rates. is there no deal at the end of the year if the tax raters in 2% are not clinton level tax rate, is that -- is there no negotiation there. >> i am withholding judgment with respect to how the entire process surrounding general petraeus came up. we don't have all the information yet. but i want to say that i have a lot of confidence, generally, in the f.b.i. and they've got a difficult job. and so i'm going to wait and see to see if trst any other -- >> do you think you should have known?
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>> chuck, what i'll say is that if -- it is also possible that had we been told, then you'd be sitting here asking a question about why were you interfering in a criminal investigation. so i think it's best right new for us to just see how this whole process unfolds. with respect to the tax rates, i just want to emphasize, i am open to new ideas. if the republican counterparts or some democrats have a great requested fours raise revenue, maintain progress, make sure the middle class isn't getting hit, reduces our deficit, encourages growth i'm not going to just slam the door in their face. i want to hear ideas from everybody. look, i believe this is solveable. i think that fair minded people
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can come to an agreement that does not cause the economy to go back into recession that protects middle class families, that focuses on jobs and growth and reduces our deficit. i'm confident it can be done. my budget, frankly, doesn't. i understand that -- i don't expect the republicans semply to adopt my budget, that's not realist in. i recognize we're going to have to compromise. as i said on election night, compromise is hard. and not everybody gets 100% of everybody they want. not everybody will be perfectly happy. but what i will not do is to have a process that is vague, that says, we're going to sort of kind of raise revenue through dynamic scoring or closing loopholes that have not been identified and the reason i won't do that is because i don't want to find ourselveses in a position six months from
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now or a year from now where lo and behold the only way to close the deficit is to sock it to middle class families. or to burden families that have disabled kids or have a narnte a nursing home. or suddenly we've got to cut more out of our basic research budget that is the key to growing the economy in the long term. so that's my concern. i'm less concerned about red lines per se. what i'm --ed -- concerned about is not finding ourselveses in a situation where the wealthy aren't paying more or aren't paying as much as they should, middle class families one way or another are making up the difference. that's the kind of status quo that has been going on here too long and that's exactly what i argued against during this campaign and if there's one
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thing that i'm confident about is the american people understood what they were getting when they gave me this incredible privilege of being in office for another four years. they want compromise. they want action. but they also want to make sure that middle class folks aren't bury -- bearing the entire burden and, is a fice when it comes to big challenges. they expect that folks at the top are doing their fair share as well. that's going to be my biding principle during these negotiations, but more importantly during the next four years of my administration. >> mr. president, on election night you said you were looking forward to speaking with governor romney, sitting down in the coming weeks to discuss ways you could work together on this nation's problems have you extended that invitation? has he accepted? and what ways do you think you can work together? >> we haven't scheduled something yet.
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i think everybody forgets the election was only a week ago. i know i've forgotten, i forgot on wednesday. i think everybody needs to catch their breath. i'm sure that governor romney is spending time with his family. and my hope is before the end of the year, though, we have a chance to sit down and talk. there are certain aspects of governor romney's record and his ideas that i think could be very helpful. to goifcu -- to give you up with example, i think he did a terrific job running the olympics. and that skill set of trying to figure out how do we make something work better applies to the federal government. there are a lot of ideas that i don't think are partisan ideas but are just smart ideas about how can we make the federal government more customer
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friendly, how can we make sure that we're consolidating programs that are duplicative. how can we eliminate additional waste? he presented ideas in the course of the campaign that i agree with and so it would be interesting to talk to him about smog -- something like that. there may be ideas he has with respect to jobs and growth that can help middle class families that i want to hear. so i'm not either prejudges what he's interested in doing, nor am i suggesting i've got some specific assignment, but what i want to do is get ideas from him and see if there's some ways we can potentially work together. >> when it comes to your relationship with congress, one of the most frequent criticisms we've heard from members on both sides is you haven't done enough to reach out and build
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relationships. are there concrete ways you plan to approach your relationships with congress in the second term? >> look, i think there's no doubt that i can always do better. so i will examine ways that i can make sure to communicate my desire to work with everybody, so long as it's advancing the cause of strengthening our middle class and improving our economy. i've gotten a lot of good relationships with folks both in the house and senate. i have a lot of relationships on both sides of the aisle. it hasn't always manifested itself in the kind of agreements i'd like to see between democrats and republicans. so i think all of us have responsibilities to see if there are things we can improve on. i don't exempt myself from needing to do some self-reflection and see if i can improve our working
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relationship. there are probably going to be still some sharp differences. and as i said during the campaign, there are going to be times where there are fights and i think those are fights that need to be had. but what i think the american people don't want to see is a focus on the next election instofede a focus on them. and i don't have another election. and michelle and i were talking last night about what an incredible honor and privilege it is to be put in this position. and there are people all across this country, millions of folks who have work sod hard to help us get elected but there are also millions of people who may not have voted for us but are also counting on us. we take that responsibility very seriously. i take that responsibility very seriously. and i hope and intend to be an even better president in the
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second term than i was in the first. jonathan carl. >> thank you, mr. president. senator john mccain and senator lindsey graham said they want watergate-style hearings on benghazi and if you nominate susan rice to be secretary, they will do everything they can to stop that after her remarks on benghazi. >> i'm not going to comment on various nominations i'll put forward to fill out my cabinet for the second term. those are things that are still being discussed. but let me say specifically about susan rice. she has done exemplary work. she has represented the united states and our interests in the
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united nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. as i've said before, she made an appearance at the request of the white house in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. and i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she had received, to demirge -- besmirch her representation --
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ref reputation is outrageous -- reputation is outrageous. we're after an election now. i think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in benghazi and i'm happy to cooperate in any ways congress wants. we have provided every bit of information we have. and we will continue to provide information. and we've got a full blown investigation and all that information will be disgorged to congress. and i don't think there's any debate in this country that when you have four americans killed, that's a problem. and we've got to get to the bottom of it and there needs to be accountability. we've got to bring those who carried it out to justice. they won't get any debate from me on that. but when they go after the u.n. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me. and should i choose, if i think
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that she would be the best person to serve america in the capacity of the state department then i will nominate her. that's not a determination i have made yet. ed henry. >> i want to take chuck's lead and ask a very small follow-up, whether you feel you have a mandate not just on taxes but a range of issues because of your decisive victory. i want to stay in benghazi because of what john asked you say, if they want to come after somebody, come after me. sean smith's father ray says he believes his son basically called 911 for help and didn't get it. i know you said you grieve for these four americans, that it's being investigated but the families have been waited for more than two months. i would like to -- for you to address the families if you
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can. on 9/11 as commander in chief did you issue anied orers to protech their lives? >> ed, i'll address the families not through the press, i'll address the families directly as i already have. and we will provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day. that's what the investigation is for. but as i said repeatedly, if people don't think that we did everything we can to make sure that we saved the lives of folks who i sent there and who were carrying out missions on behalf of the united states, then you don't know how our defense department thinks or our state department thinks or our c.i.a. thinks. their number one priority is obviously to protect american lives. that's what our job is. ed, we're -- i'll put forward
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every bit of information we have. i can tell you that immediately upon finding out that our folks were in danger, that my orders to my national security team were, do whatever we need to do to make sure they're safe. and that's the same order that i would give any time that i see americans are in danger. whether they're civilian or military. because that's our number one priority. with respect to the issue of mandate, i've got one mandate. i've got a mandate to help middle class fam -- families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class. that's my mandate. that's what the american people said. they said work really hard to help us. don't worry about the politics of it. don't worry about the party interests. don't worry about the special interests. just work really hard to see if
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you can help us get ahead. because we're working really hard out here and we're still struggling a lot of us. that's my mandate. i don't presume that because i won an election that everybody suddenly agrees with me on everything. i'm more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms. we are very cautious about that. on the other hand, i didn't get re-elected just to bask in re-election. i got elected to do work on behalf of american families and small businesses all across the country who are still recovering from a really bad recession but are hopeful about the future. and i am too. the one thing that i said during the campaign, that maybe sounds like a bunch of campaign
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red rhetoric but now that the campaign is over, i'll repeat it and hope you believe me. when you travel around the country you are inspired by the grit and resilience and hard work an decency of the american people. it just makes you want to work harder. you meet families who are -- who have overcome really tough spots and are making it, sending their doids college. and you meet young people who are doing incredible work in disadvantaged communities because they believe in, you know, the american ideal and it should be available for everybody and you meet farmers who are helping each other during types of drought and you meet businesses that kept their doors open during the recession even though the owner didn't have to take a salary, when you talk to these folk yurks say to yourself, man, they deserve a
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better government than they've been getting. they deserve all of us here in washington to be thinking everybody single day how can i make things better for them? which isn't to say that everything we do is going to be perfect or that there aren't just going to be some big, tough challenges we have to grapple with. but i do know the federal government can make a difference. we're seeing it right now on the jersey coast and in new york. people are still going through a tough time. the response hasn't been perfect. but it's been aggressive and strong and fast and robust and a lot of people have been helped because of it. and that's a pretty good metaphor for how i want the federal government to operate generally and i'm going to do everything i can to make sure it does. christy parson. >> thank you, mr. president. congratulations, by the way.
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>> when i was running for state senate, you were there. >> i was. >> christy and i go back a ways. >> i've never seen you lose. i wasn't looking that one time. >> there you go. >> one quick followup and then i want to ask you about iran. i just want to make sure you understood what you said. can you envision any scenario in which we do go off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year and on iran are you preparing a final diplomatic push here to resthove nuclear program issue and are we headed toward one-on-one talks? >> obviously we can all imagine a scenario where we go off the fiscal cliff. if despite the election, if the spite -- if despite the dangers of going over the fiscal cliff and what that means for our economy, that there's too much
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stubbornness in congress that we can't even agree on giving middle class families a tax cut, then middle class families will all end up having a big tax hike. that will be a prude ruud shock for them and i suspect will have a big impact on the holiday shopping season, which in turn will have an impact on business planning and hiring and we can go back into a recession. it would be a bad thing. it is not necessary. so i want to repeat. step number one that we can take in the next couple of weeks prorksvide certainty to middle class families, 98% of families who make less than $250,000 a year, 97% of small businesses that their taxes won't go up a single dime next year. give them that certainty right now. we can get that done. we can then set up a structure whereby we are dealing with tax
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reform, closing deductions, closing loopholes, simplifying, dealing with entitlements and i'm ready and willing to make big commitments to make sure we're locking in the kind of deficit reductions that stabilize our deficit, start bringing it down, start bringing down our debt. i'm confident we can do it. it's -- and look, i've been living with this for a couple of years now. i know the math pretty well. and it's -- it really is arithmetic. it's not calculus. there are some tough things that have to be done but there's a way of doing it that doesn't hurt middle class family that does not hurt our seniors, doesn't hurt families with disabled kids, allows taos continue to invest in those -- allows us to continue to invest in those things that make us grow, research, education, helping young people go to college. as we have heard from some republican commentators a
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modest tax increase on the wealthy is not going to break their backs. they'll still be wealthy. and it will not impinge on business investment. so we know how to do this. this is just a matter of whether or not we come together and go ahead and say, democrats and republicans, we're both going to hold hands and do what's right for the american people. and i hope that's what happens. with respect to iran, i very much want to see a diplomatic resolution to the problem. i was very clear before the campaign, i was clear during the campaign and i'm now clear after the campaign. we're not going to let iran get a nuclear weapon. but i think there's still a window of time for taos resolve this diplomatically. we've imposed the toughest sanctions in history. it is having an impact on iran's economy. there should be a way in which they can enjoy peaceful nuclear
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power while still meeting their international obligations and providing clear assurances to the international community that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon. so yes, i will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue between iran and not just us but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved. i can't promise that iran will walk through the door they need to walk through but that would be very much the preferable option. >> [inaudible] >> i won't talk about the details on negotiations. i think it's fair to say that we want to get this resolved and we're not going to be constrained by diplomatic nicities or protocols. if iran is serious about wanting to resolve this, they'll be in a position to resolve it. >> at one point just prior to the election trfs talk that talks might be imminent -- >> that was not true.
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and it's not true as of today. ok. just going to knock through a couple others. mark landers. where's mark? there he is right in front of me. >> thank you, mr. president. in his endorsement of you a few weeks ago, mayor bloomberg said he was motivated by the belief that you would do more to confront the threat of climate change than your opponent. tomorrow you're going up to new york city where you're going to, i assume, see people still suffering the effects of hurricane sandy which many people say is further evidence of how a warming globe is changing our weather. what specifically do you plan to do in a sec term to tackle the issue of climate change? and do you think the political will exists in washington to pass legislation that could include some kind of attacks on carbon?
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>> you know, as you know, mark, we can't attribute any particular weather event to climate change. what we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing. faster than was predicted even 10 years ago. we do know that the arctic icecap is melting, faster than was predicted even five years ago. we do know there have been extraordinarily -- there have been an extraordinarily large number of severe weather events here in north america but also around the globe. and i am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacting by human may havor and carbon emissions and -- human behavior and by carbon emissions and i think we have an obligation to future yen rations to do something about it.
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in hi first term, we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks. that will have an impact. that will take a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere. we doubled the production of clean energy. which promises to reduce the utilization of fossil fuels for power generation. and we continue to invest in potential breakthrough technologies that could further remove carbon from our atmosphere. but we haven't done as much as we need to. so what i'm going to be doing over the next several weeks, next several months, is having a conversation a wide-ranging conversation with scientists, engineers, and elected officials to find out what more can we do to make short-term progress in reducing carbon and
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then working through an education process that i think is necessary, a discussion, a conversation across the country about what realistically can we do long-term to make sure that this is not something we're passing on to future generations that's going to be very expensive and very pain to feel deal with? i don't know what either democrats or republicans are prepared to do at this point. because this is one of those issues that is not just a partisan issue. i also think there's regional differences. there's no doubt that for us to take on climate change in a serious way, would involve making some tough political choices. and understandably, inthe american people right now have been so focused and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth
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that if the message is somehow, we're going to ignore jobs and growth, simply to address climate change, i don't think anybody is going to go for that. i won't go for that if on the other hand, we can shape an agenda that says we can create jobs, advance growth, and make a serious dent in climate change and be an international leader, i think that's something the american people would support. so you know, you can expect you'll hear more from me in the coming months and years about how we can shape an agenda that garners bipartisan support an helps move this agenda forward. >> you sound like you're saying -- [inaudible] >> that i'm pretty certain of. look, we're still trying to debate whether we can just make sure middle class families don't get a tax hike. let's see if we can resolve
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that. that should be easy. this one is hard. but it's important. because one of the twhins don't always factor in are the costs involved in these natural disasters. we just put them off as something that's unconnected to our behavior right now and i think what -- based on the evidence we're seeing is that what we do now is going to have an impact and a cost down the road if we don't do something about it. all right. last question. mark. >> thank you, mr. president. the assaad regime is engamed in a brutal crackdown on its people. france has recognized the opposition coalition. what would it fake for the united states to do the same and is there any point at which the united states would consider arming the rebels?
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>> i was one of the first leaders around the world to say assaad had to go. in response to the incredible brutality that his government displayed in the face of what were initially peaceful protests. obviously the situation in syria has dedoor yore rated -- has deteriorated since then. we have been engaged to help the opposition. we have committed to hundreds of millions of dollars of humanitarian aid to help folks both inside of syria and outside of syria. we are constantly consulting with the opposition on how they can get organized so that they're not splinters and divided in the face of the onslaught from the assaad regime. we are in very close contact with countries like turkey and jordan that immediately border
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syria and have an impact and obviously israel which is having already grave concerns as we do about, for example, movements of chemical weapons that might occur in such a chaotic atmosphere. and they could have an impact not just within syria but on the reas a whole. i'm encouraged to see that the syrian opposition created an umbrella group that may have more cohesion than they had in the past. we're going to be talking to them, my envoys are going to be traveling to various meetings taking place with the international community and the opposition. we consider them a legitimate representative of the aspirations of the syrian people. we're not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile. but we do think it is it's a broad-based representative group. one of the questions we're going to continue tos preis making sure that that
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opposition is committed to a democratic syria, an inclusive syria, a moderate syria. we have seen extremist elements insinuate themselves into the opposition. and one of the things that we have to be on gourd about, particularly when with start talking about arming opposition, -- opposition figures is that we're not indirectly putting arms in the hands of folks who would do americans harm or do israelis harm or otherwise engage in actions that are detrimental to our national security. so we're constantly probing and working on that issue, the more engaged we are in the more we'll be in a position to make sure that we are encouraging the most moderate, thoughtful elements of the opposition that are committed to